'I'm averaging 60': Australia's Smith bemused by opener queries

After scores of 12 and 11 not out in the first test in Adelaide, and six in his first innings at the Gabba, Smith carried his bat with an unbeaten 91 in a losing cause in Brisbane

Reuters
Published : 31 Jan 2024, 12:42 PM
Updated : 31 Jan 2024, 12:42 PM

Australia Test opener Steve Smith has batted away criticism of his promotion to the top of the order, suggesting doubters take a look at the statistics. 

Long settled at number four in Australia's test setup, Smith replaced long-serving opener David Warner for the West Indies series, prompting some scepticism from pundits about his ability to handle the extra bounce and swing on offer from the new ball. 

After scores of 12 and 11 not out in the first test in Adelaide, and six in his first innings at the Gabba, Smith carried his bat with an unbeaten 91 in a losing cause in Brisbane. 

"There was a lot of commentary around I’d failed in two or three innings or whatever it was," Smith told reporters in Melbourne on Wednesday. 

"I had a not out and two low scores. And now I think I’m averaging 60 as an opener. 

"I didn't really read too much into it. It was just another position. I've batted against a new ball numerous times coming in early." 

Smith will be back down to number four for the opener of the one-day series against West Indies starting in Melbourne on Friday, and will lead the hosts in Pat Cummins's absence. 

With Warner also retired from the one-day format and Mitchell Marsh to miss out, Smith will lead a much-changed side from the outfit that won last year's World Cup in India. 

Wicketkeeper-batsman Josh Inglis will partner Travis Head at the top of the order, with all-rounder Cameron Green promoted to number three. 

Western Australian paceman Lance Morris is poised to make his international debut while uncapped Queensland quick Xavier Bartlett may also feature. 

Smith, 34, said his role would be to teach the new faces "the ropes". 

"I think it’ll be a good series, and hopefully we can see some of these new players start off their international career as well," he added.