Australia braced for low bounce in Ranchi, says Smith

By Amlan Chakraborty
Cricket - India v Australia - Australia team practice session - Jharkhand State Cricket Association Stadium, Ranchi, India - 15/03/17 - Australia's captain Steve Smith catches the ball. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

By Amlan Chakraborty

RANCHI, India (Reuters) - Australia will once again have to make do with lack of bounce at Ranchi but the tourists have the wherewithal to overcome that challenge in the third test against India, skipper Steve Smith said on Wednesday.

In the series opener at Pune, the tourists triumphed by 333 runs inside three days on a pitch which offered low bounce and sharp turn and was subsequently rated 'poor' by match referee Chris Broad.

In the second match at Bengaluru, the bounce was uneven and India pulled off a thrilling 75-run win to level the series ahead of the third match in the brand new test venue in Ranchi.

Smith had a quick look at the 22-yard strip at the Jharkhand State Cricket Association Stadium on Wednesday and the 27-year-old was immediately convinced his team would need to adapt to the low bounce of the track.

"When we came over to India, we were under no illusions that we were going to potentially get some difficult wickets to play on," Smith told reporters.

"And the first two test matches were pretty tough wickets. I think we've adopted some good plans and played some very good cricket so far in this series. This wicket is no different."

Smith said he expected the pitch to hold together quite well on the first day and then "break up from there", adding that adaptation would be key to his team's success and remaining in the contest for a long time.

Smith was surprised by the dark hue of the pitch, saying its low bounce would negate some of the threat of his pacemen.

"I've never seen a wicket that’s looked quite as dark as that one is," Smith told the Cricket Australia (CA) website.

"It looks like there's mud sort of rolled together ... It’s 22 yards and we’ve played on some difficult wickets in the first two games and we’ve played some pretty good cricket, so we’re confident that we can play with whatever this wicket does."

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in Ranchi; editing by Gareth Jones)