Steve Smith has confessed he was furious with himself after his dismissal during the second innings of the Delhi Test against India, admitting he’s “still learning” his craft in the subcontinent.
The 33-year-old fell victim to Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin for 9 after attempting an audacious sweep shot, a stroke he rarely plays, on day three of the second Test at Arun Jaitley Stadium.
Smith’s LBW dismissal sparked a horror collapse of 8-28 in Delhi, with India ultimately claiming a six-wicket victory to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in less than six days.
“I don’t think there’s been too many times I’ve walked off the field and I’ve gone, ‘What the hell am I doing?’” Smith told reporters in Indore on Tuesday.
“I was pretty angry. There hasn’t been too many times in my career where I’ve actually come off and just been bedazzled by what I’ve done. It wasn’t my finest moment.
“Certainly something to learn from, I’m still learning as well. It wasn’t the way I wanted to play, particularly when I had the field set for all of us – they had the field out.
“We probably just rushed things a little bit and it’s something we’ll talk about … when we’ve got them on the ropes, we can slow things down. We don’t have to play at such a high tempo and risky tempo.
“Because we had them where we wanted them, we had men out and the ability to get off strike. We just rushed it.”
Speaking to reporters, Australian assistant coach Michael Di Venuto revealed there were some ugly scenes in the changerooms as wickets falls in Delhi.
“(Smith) was certainly disappointed when he got out, and he made it known that it was a poor shot in the dressing room,” Di Venuto said.
“I think most people would have heard that, they should have had a fair idea of what not to do. It was just one of those moments in the game when you’re under pressure from world-class bowlers, things happen sometimes, it’s unusual for him.
“It was a like a car crash in slow motion.”
Smith put together a career-defining performance when Australia last toured India in 2017, plundering three centuries in four Tests, but the right-hander has struggled to replicate that form this year, averaging 23.66 after two matches.
However, the New South Welshman refused to blame Indian conditions for his lack of runs, acknowledging that Australia’s batters can post big scores if they apply themselves.
“I think starting your innings is as tough as anywhere in the world here in India,” Smith said.
“There’ll be odd times when you get a very good ball and get dismissed, (but) I don’t like the term, ‘Have one with your name on it’ so much, you’ve got to try and take that out of your mind.
“If you get in, you get used to the conditions as such, the pace of the wicket, the bounce, all those kinds of things.
“You’ve got to try and make it count … guys haven’t been able to go on and make a big total and two guys together getting that one partnership can make a difference.
“We’ve got to try and put that out of our mind … we’ve got to learn to adapt a little bit better.”
Smith, who will lead Australia for the third Test in Pat Cummins’ absence, said the visitors were yet to decide on a starting XI for the Indore fixture, which gets underway on Wednesday.
He boasts the third-highest batting average among captains in Test history with 67.73, bettered only by Sir Donald Bradman and Kumar Sangakkara.
“It normally brings the best out of me,” Smith said of the Test captaincy.
“I’m excited about leading this week in Pat’s absence.
“I know these conditions well. It’s kind of like my second home playing over here, I’ve played a lot in India, I understand the intricacies of the game and what the wickets are likely to do. I’m looking forward to it.”
The third Test between India and Australia gets underway at Holkar Stadium on Wednesday, with the first ball scheduled for 3pm AEDT.
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