You suckers! Steve Smith admits he can’t believe Ben Duckett and his England team-mates fell for Australia’s short-ball ploy that cost Ben Stokes’ side three wickets at crucial point in second Test
- Australia captain Steve Smith admits he was surprised by England’s tactics
- Ollie Pope, Joe Root and Ben Duckett all fell for Australia’s short-ball ploy
- It cost England 34 runs at a crucial point before they closed on 278 for four
Steve Smith admitted he was surprised by England’s approach to Australia’s short ball ploy immediately after Nathan Lyon’s injury as Ben Stokes’ side lost three wickets for 34 runs to the short ball to close on 278 for four, after Smith’s 32nd Test hundred took Australia to a first innings total of 416.
‘It was interesting,’ said Smith. ‘Our fast bowlers probably didn’t want to keep charging in bowling the short stuff but while it looked as lively as it did on a pretty benign surface, it was the right way to go.
‘If England got under a few, we might have stopped doing it but they kept taking it on and presenting opportunities for us,’ Smith added.
Ollie Pope, Joe Root and Ben Duckett were all caught by Australian fielders positioned in the deep as they played the pull shot, with Duckett caught at fine leg when he was just two runs shy from a maiden Ashes century.
But the England opener insisted that he had no regrets with the way he got out.
Australia’s Steve Smith admits he was surprised England fell for their short-ball ploy
Ben Duckett was among the England stars snarred as they played the pull shot at Lord’s
‘No, not at all. I’d have been gutted in myself if I’d gone into my shell and gone away from it and gloved one to the keeper,’ said Duckett.
‘For three or four overs leading up to that (the wicket), I felt so comfortable just hitting it down to fine leg or the man just behind square for one. Ten metres either side of the man there and I’ve got a hundred.
‘I’d only have been disappointed if I’d have gone away from my natural game. It’s a shot that I play and it’s a shot that I’ve scored plenty of runs over my career so I’m not happy I got out, but I’d rather get out like that,’ Duckett added.
England fell from 188 for one to 222 for four before Harry Brook and Ben Stokes took them through to close and Smith insisted that it was only when the England captain came out that things changed.
Ollie Pope (L) and Joe Root (R) were also caught in the deep as England cost themselves 34 runs at a crucial time in the Test
‘It felt like we were in the game for a lot of the time until Stokesy came out and started to duck under a few,’ said Smith. ‘He was only looking to get underneath the ball, or ride it. The rest were trying to take it on’
Earlier in England’s innings, Lyon took his 496th Test wicket with the stumping of Zak Crawley but the Australia spinner limped off in the evening session with a calf injury after pulling up when running to chase a ball and now looks a serious doubt for the rest of the match.
‘It didn’t look good. If he’s (Lyon’s) no good for the rest of the game, it’s a huge loss for us,’ said Smith. ‘It’s not ideal, particularly your spin bowler. It’s your one player with one role. Batters – there are loads of us around.
‘However we’ve got Todd Murphy waiting in wings. He’s been bowling beautifully in the nets and bowled really well in India when he got his opportunity so I’d be confident if he came in, he’d do a terrific job for us but fingers crossed that Nathan’s alright.’