Steve Smith is back as Australia captain in India and the star batsman is hoping for the change of leadership to be at his best during the third Test in Indore.
The 33-year-old will fill in as Test captain for the third time since losing the captaincy in the wake of the ball-tampering saga during the 2018 Test series against South Africa.
Pat Cummins is back in Australia with his family after his mother Maria was moved into palliative care, meaning he will miss the third match of the Border-Gavaskar series starting today at the Holkar Stadium.
Australia are coming off two diabolical batting collapses that led to defeats in Nagpur and Delhi with no chance of winning a Test series in India for the first time since 2004.
Australia need to avoid a 4-0 whitewash against India to seal their place in the World Test Championship final in June, but have lost the trophy for the fourth time in a row after India won at home in 2017 and in Australia in 2018 Is. 19 and 2020/21.
Smith said he was “furious” and “appalled” by his dismissal in their second innings in Delhi, when he was bowled attempting his first sweep shot of the series, costing Australia a winning position Went.
But the batting maestro is excited for the challenge of captaining overseas again after Australia lost the series 2-1 in India six years ago.
Smith could not bat much better in that series, scoring 499 runs at 71.28 including three centuries.
He averages 67.7 in 36 Tests as captain since 2014, and an unbeaten average of 55.3 in his other 58 matches in the whites.
Smith said of captaincy, “Usually it brings out the best in me.”
“I’m excited to lead this week in Pat’s absence.
“I know these conditions very well. It’s like my second home playing here.
“I have played a lot in India and I understand the intricacies of the game and what wickets can do.”
The right-handed batsman batted for nearly two hours in the nets at the Holkar Stadium in Indore on the eve of the match.
Smith opted not to train the day before both the first and second Tests in India, instead preferring to have a longer two-day session before those matches.
Smith’s degenerative back problem was also noticed after he dropped several catches in the slips during the first two Tests.
“I get flustered frequently. It’s taken a little longer than I expected,” Smith said.
“It’s not too bad really, to be honest I probably wouldn’t be bowling.
“Still working hard on my fielding, catching a lot of balls, and catching well in practice.
“Sometimes it just happens in one game.”
Australia will not confirm their XI until the toss on Wednesday but star pacer Mitchell Starc and all-rounder Cameron Green will almost certainly play after being ruled out for two months with a finger injury.