I Feel I Am Up For The Challenge - Steven Smith
The drama surrounding Australia's build-up to the third Test against India in Mohali gave way, come matchday, to disappointment as the opening day was washed out.
However, Australia had named their team, recalling Steven Smith to bat at number five, and this is a role he feels comfortable with, having worked hard on his game since last wearing the Baggy Green.
He last played a Test during Australia's 2010/11 Ashes defeat to England and the early part of his career saw him selected as a specialist spin bowler. With Nathan Lyon and Xavier Doherty both included in this team, the focus will be on Smith's batting, as he has effectively replaced Shane Watson in the line-up.
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"I think I''ve improved a lot the last 12 to 18 months, I've changed a couple of things from my technique that have made me a bit more stable at the crease, more balanced and I guess more selective as well," Smith said at the end of the opening day.
"I feel as though I'm tightening my technique up quite a bit and I feel as if I've been playing spin really well in the nets and previously as well. I'm looking forward to getting out there and having a crack in the middle and hopefully I'll be successful.
"I've probably always been more of a batsmen than a bowler, but getting picked in different teams in those roles was always special, the first two Tests I played I was a bowler.
"It's a bit different now to come in as a number five specialist batter and that is something I've worked on the last couple of years about just tightening my technique up and becoming more balanced and getting big runs."
Big runs are exactly what Australia need, with only Michael Clarke and Moises Henriques showing any sort of consistency during the two defeats in the series so far.
Smith says he has been working on his technique against spin bowling and is keen to be able to make the hard work pay dividends.
"I think it's just another oppotunity to come back. India have played some good cricket so far this series, this is my first game in the team so I'm looking forward to coming in and hopefully making a contribution and trying to bring it to 2-1 and then 2-2 after the last game.
"I've been working pretty hard on a couple of different methods in the nets. I've spent a lot of time in the nets the last couple of weeks so I've been working different methods and ways to try play against the spin, hopefully my method I've come up with will be successful in these conditions.
"It's always going to be tough playing against the quality of these spinners in these conditions but I feel as if I'm up for the challenge."
And he hasn't ruled out performing a role with the ball should the team need it.
"It's still something I do work on pretty hard in the nets, it's always a good string to add to my bow," he said of his leg-spin.
"The wicket looks pretty dry so it could be a chance to roll a few leggies out, maybe in the second innings if there is a little rough, I've been working hard so hopefully they come off."
© Cricket World 2013
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