Brisbane : Steve Smith slammed England’s fielding tactics as “pretty defensive” as Australia gained an edge after three hard-fought days in the first Ashes Test at the Gabba.
The tourists had well-researched plans in place for the Australian captain and world’s top-ranked batsman, yet Smith still scored a stubborn unbeaten 141, his 21st Test century.
England skipper Joe Root’s field strategy for Smith was likened to Bodyline, a notorious leg theory bowling tactic devised by England on their 1932-33 tour of Australia, specifically to negate the dominant batting skills of the great Don Bradman. “I thought they were pretty defensive from the outset,” said Smith, who was out in the middle for eight-and-a-half hours. “It was almost as though they were waiting for our batters to make a mistake. Unfortunately, four of the top batsmen made those mistakes. “It felt like it was very defensive. It might be a series where boundaries might be hard to come by. They were pretty defensive pretty early.”
But England paceman Stuart Broad supported his team’s strategy to restrict runs and not let the game get away from them.
“If we can restrict them from scoring lots of boundaries… as a seam bowler your job is to really restrict scoring,” said Broad, who took three wickets. Broad said he still fancied England’s chances over the final two days in Brisbane, where they have not won in 31 years.