Australian coach Justin Langer has dismissed the notion that star batsman Steve Smith has a left-arm spin-shaped chink in the otherwise unbreakable armour, stating “I don’t buy into it [the left-arm issue].”
Smith now boasts the second-highest Test average of all time (62.96) cemented by his twin hundreds in Australia’s 251-run victory at Edgbaston 10 days ago.
Much has been said about how England should approach the daunting task of removing the prized wicket of Steve Smith, but one statistic that has received widespread attention is his sub-35 batting average versus orthodox left-arm spin.
Versus the various bowling types, Smith averages: off-break (94.07), right-arm pace (67.05), left-arm pace (65.28), leg-break (48.77), left-arm orthodox (34.90).
England made their intentions to exploit the perceived weakness clear after they revealed that left-armer Jack Leach would replace Moeen Ali in the 12-man squad.
Steve Smith's last 10 #Ashes innings = 1,116 runs at an average of 139.5.
Unbelievable! 👏👏👏 pic.twitter.com/c4S8fqz2Gb
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) August 4, 2019
But speaking in his pre-match press conference at Lord’s, Aussie supremo Justin Langer gave short shrift to the notion that Smith would be troubled by the option.
“No, I don’t buy into it,” he said of the slow left-arm ‘solution’.
“He’s got this incredible ability to solve problems, I’m sure he’ll be thinking a lot about he’s going to play all the new bowlers who are coming in.
“He’s a good player and hopefully he’ll have a way of working it out. As we keep saying, he’s a different beast and he knows how to prepare and what works for him.”
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