Smith to test Pak­istan’s pa­tience

Mercury (Hobart) - - SPORT -

STEVE Smith has warned Pak­istan’s ex­cit­ing pace at­tack he aims to test their re­serves with pa­tience in the first Test at the Gabba start­ing Thurs­day. The match will mark the for­mer Aus­tralian cap­tain’s first Test on home soil since his ball-tam­per­ing ban.

He’ll ar­rive with plenty of be­lief, com­ing off an Ashes se­ries that net­ted 774 runs at 110.57 and with fond mem­o­ries of the Bris­bane ground. Smith av­er­ages 71 across five Tests at the venue, with a pa­tient un­beaten 141 on day one of the 2017 Ashes se­ries that rated among his best knocks.

Pak­istan could in­clude promis­ing 16-year-old speed­ster Naseem Shah along­side ac­cu­rate seamer Mo­ham­mad Ab­bas in a pace at­tack ca­pa­ble of do­ing dam­age on a lively Gabba deck.

But Smith in­tends to make them work hard for any suc­cess.

“This week is go­ing to be about get­ting used to the Gabba bounce, work­ing on my leave and just be­ing pa­tient,” Smith said.

“I’ve never faced Ab­bas ... he stands the seam up, any sort of move­ment he’ll get the most out of it. And it looks like Shah bowls with some good pace.

“Be­ing as young as he is, he prob­a­bly hasn’t bowled lots of overs con­sis­tently so it’ll be about mak­ing him come back and bowl as many spells as he can and see if he can main­tain it.”

Skip­per Tim Paine hopes Smith’s top-six com­pan­ions take note as the side aims to be less re­liant on their star man.

“We felt we made some strides in Eng­land, but it means noth­ing if we don’t con­tinue to im­prove,” he said.

“We can’t be so re­liant on Steve all the time, so that’s a huge area of fo­cus for us this sum­mer, scor­ing hun­dreds and putting big first in­nings runs on the board.”

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