Playing on slower surfaces will try Australia: Graeme Smith
NEW DELHI: Australia beat an impoverished Pakistan in the UAE to signal its preparation for a successful title defense in the World Cup, but former South African captain Graeme Smith feels that the slower surfaces in England will prove Aaron Finch and his men.
In his column for the Times of India, Smith wrote: Australia will wait for a peaceful launch in Taunton against the always unpredictable Pakistan. From India's perspective on Sunday, the launch on the oval was the perfect surface to play against Australia and they played the perfect game. The lack of rhythm and nip on the surface almost nullified Australia's key weapon - the pace of Mitchell Starc & Pat Cummins . As soon as the pitches get a bit drier, Australia's 'pace off' options seem somewhat exposed. Their spin options are certainly a key area in which they could improve, & I think slower pitches present a significant challenge to their batting unit, too."
Australia have two wins from their three World Cup matches so far, having beaten both Afghanistan & the West Indies before losing to India.
"That said, they've broken the barrier, having won the tournament five times previously. They have players who've been there & done it in 2015. That gives them an aura that other teams pick up on. As an opposition player you get to thinking, 'we've got to beat Australia if we want to win this thing'. They will likely be there or there abouts at this World Cup, but playing more games on slower pitches will make winning it a tough ask based on Sunday's evidence," Smith added.
Pakistan have three points after a win, a defeat & a no-result washout.
The Pakistani challenge will carry the momentum of their victory against England, which seems already quite some time ago. They will also favor pitches with more pace to better adapt to their bowling attack, but they will also argue that their batting line will be more equipped to deal with a slower pitch if that is what we see in the game at Taunton on Wednesday, he concluded. Smith