Josh Hazlewood's chances of getting a place in the Sydney Test fade as Steve Smith looks for the old-school SCG pitch - petsitterbank

Josh Hazlewood’s chances of getting a place in the Sydney Test fade as Steve Smith looks for the old-school SCG pitch

“Looking at this wicket right now there seems to be a fair amount of grass. I daresay it won’t take too much spin late in the game, which was the old SCG we used to see, and I’d like to see it. “

Despite the good grass coverage, Smith said it was “pretty difficult” to say here how it would play out.

“Sometimes when they keep the grass in the gate, it does it a little bit in the first hour or so and then it seems to flatten out and not break,” he said.

“They are trying to make it difficult from day one and not as tacky as before with the weather.

“I can’t really pass judgment yet. To be honest, I would like a little more grass. I think our (fast) bowlers will enjoy it a little more with a little more grass maybe.

“But then it’s a Catch 22. If you leave the grass, it probably won’t break as much, whereas if you remove the grass, the second inning will probably get a little more difficult.”

With the rain forecast throughout the Test, this is also likely to prevent the field from becoming friendlier to spinners.

Steve Smith addresses the media at SCG on Monday.Credit:Getty

The last thing England’s batsmen need is another fast bowler-friendly surface.

England captain Joe Root said the pitches from the first three tryouts were more challenging for hitters than during his previous two tours of Australia.

It was a sentiment echoed by Smith, who singled out Melbourne’s course in particular, which has gone from being a field for boring bat-athons to a grassy minefield in four years.

England were eliminated by just 68 in their second inning at MCG to lose Test 3 by one inning in just over three days.

“I’ve never seen a sewing move like that in my life,” Smith said. “One of those balls that [Haseeb] Hameed left, came back like a spinner. The ball was sewing from what I have seen in any wicket.

“It was never going to be easy for hitters. In fact, I think the first day was the best time to hit when we sent them out. It was a little slower, there probably weren’t that many chops on the grass, so it was a bit more true. Day two, day three, she started sewing a lot more. “

Smith has scored just a test century since his incredible 2019 Ashes tour, in Sydney against India a year ago. He hopes that returning to his homeland will bring him similar rewards.


“I always love playing for SCG. It’s my home. Hopefully I can be between races this week. It’s been a while since I scored a hundred, but I got close in Adelaide (doing 93).

“We played on some nice bowling grounds during the first three rounds. Obviously, they were not high-scoring matches.

“It has been difficult to get into a rhythm and get into the rhythm. Hopefully this week I can spend a lot of time and get a great score. I never felt ‘inside’ all the terrains we’ve played on and anyone can throw a good ball at any time. “

Certainly, having already retained the Ashes in 12 days of cricket is a good feeling.

“It’s good that we finished it in three (tests),” Smith said. “It takes the pressure off a bit, but we want to be ruthless and keep winning cricket matches.”

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