Smith: Skill before sledging against Proteas

Australia Test captain Steve Smith has played down the suggestion that the series against South Africa will be verbally aggressive, saying he’d rather let the cricket dominate.

Smith had said after the recent Test series defeat to Sri Lanka that his side was too quiet in the field, but he clarified now that he meant in terms of energy, not sledging.

The likes of Peter Siddle have already said they would enjoy the banter against Kagiso Rabada in particular, to which the Proteas paceman responded that he would be happy to return the favour.

But Smith does not want the cricket to be overshadowed by antics in the middle, telling the CA website: “The things I said about Sri Lanka were more about us having some more energy and presence in the field.

“It’s not about getting in their face and sledging them or that kind of thing.

“It’s about making sure that our attitude’s right and that we have that presence out on the field so if we get a half chance that we’re in a frame of mind to be ready to take it.

“I don’t think it’s anything about hostility and sledging as such.

“Each individual is different and I think aggressive means different things to different people.

“Some people might need to get into a contest with a bowler verbally, others might just need to puff their chest out a little bit or just have really good body language out on the field.”

The first Test starts in Perth on 3 November.