Aus vs SA, 2022-23 – South Africa devise their plans to combat Steven Smith

South Africa have identified Steven Smith’s quickness with the ball as the key to keeping Australia’s most prolific batsman quiet in their three-Test series this summer.

They are one of the few nations in the world who can claim to have found an answer for Smith midway through his career ahead of Saturday’s first Test at the Gabba.

Smith has made changes to his technique since the last time they faced off against South Africa, but bowling coach Charl Langeveldt said his team had a clear plan for the right-handed batsman.

“The key for most of the top six is ​​the first 20 balls and getting them ready to play,” he added. “Steve has changed. He’s not pushing forward and he’s got a good base now where he’s not moving around the crease as much.

“I think it’s going to be a good challenge for our boys. The boys are up for the challenge, but the key is that first 20 balls where we really need him to play more.”

The full approach for Smith marks a change in how teams have attacked him in recent years with low-pitched bowling aimed at his body. This prompted Smith to change his technique in such a way that he could easily duck the ball and open up the range of his pull shot on the leg side.

South Africa made a point of having a complete bowling attack in their tour match against Cricket Australia XI in recent days, with openers Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi taking seven wickets between them.

Most of his wickets have been caught behind or in the slips with fuller deliveries, in a similar scheme to the one he wants to execute on Smith.

Langeveldt said, “The boys got all the length we want. The conditions are really different in Brisbane than anywhere else in the world.”

Smith, well aware of his history against South Africa, raised it at a press conference on Sunday. But he has already said this summer that he is getting back to his best, with scores of 200 and 20 not out in Perth against the West Indies less than a fortnight ago.

Smith said, “I feel in a good place, I feel like I am batting well.” “I’m feeling in good rhythm and I’m looking forward to it.”

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