5 Bowlers who can trouble Steve Smith in Test cricket

5 Bowlers who can trouble Steve Smith in Test cricket

Excluding 2018 where he was banned, in the last 6 years, Smith’s average has never dropped below 70!

Steve Smith
Steve Smith. (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images for Surrey CCC)

Even with all the fidgets, triggers, eccentricities and idiosyncrasies, Steven Peter Devereux Smith is branded as the best Test match batsman, not just of this generation, but right behind Bradman. Although some will disagree, the averages won’t. Smith’s average of 63 is only second to Bradman’s 99.94 (minimum 20 Test matches). The greatest, since the greatest.

Excluding 2018 where he was banned, in the last 6 years, Smith’s average has never dropped below 70! He has returned to Test cricket, stronger and hungrier. In 4 Ashes 2019 innings, he has amassed 589 at a ridiculously unbelievable average of 147. He had to miss out a Test and a half, but he made up for that with his marvellous double century at Old Trafford.

The English bowlers seem to have no idea on how to get this maverick batsman out. They have tried all plans, all theories, apart from halting his innings at Lord’s, nothing much has availed. So what plan can work against Smith? Does he have any chink in the armour? Is he vulnerable against any type of bowler on this planet? How will oppositions plan to dismiss this freaky craftsman?

Which bowler can at least trouble him, let alone get his wicket? Let’s take a look

1. Mohammad Abbas

Mohammad Abbas
Mohammad Abbas. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

Mohammad Abbas has just made it into the top ten ICC Test bowlers rankings on the back of his successful performances, both home and away. The Pakistani speedster has had a very impressive start to his Test career. On the second ball of his career, he took the wicket of Kraigg Brathwaite. He has picked at least one wicket every time he has bowled in his first 10 Test matches.

Abbas made his Test debut in the West Indies in April 2017 where he took 15 wickets in 3 matches. The pacer has been fruitful even in the dry and spin-friendly conditions in the UAE. In 6 matches in the UAE, he has picked 27 wickets at an imposing average of 17!

The right-hand pacer had a remarkable series at home against Australia last year. Against a Smith-less Aussie batting line-up, he gobbled a total of 17 wickets in 2 games including five-fers in each innings of the second Test in Abu Dhabi. Abbas is accurate with his line and lengths around the off-stump where every batsman feels uncomfortable.

Bowling to Steve Smith a bowler needs to be patient and consistent in the fifth stump channel; a quality Abbas carries alongside swinging the ball in either direction. However, Smith has returned to international cricket with great form. It would be a stimulating match-up between the duo when Pakistan tour Australia later in the year.

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