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Updated January 20th, 2024 at 12:35 IST

‘That'll be how we...’-McDonald highly tip Steve Smith for a big comeback following struggles vs WI

Andrew McDonald has made a huge statement about Steve Smith after he struggled as an opener in the first Test of Australia vs West Indies.

Aryan Suraj Chadha
Steve Smith
Steve Smith | Image:AP
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 Australia dominated the first Test against West Indies, securing a commanding 10-wicket victory. After dismissing West Indies for 188 in their first innings, Australia's Travis Head's remarkable 119 set the stage for their 283. In response, West Indies managed only 120, with Kirk McKenzie's 26 being the highest individual score. Josh Hazlewood's outstanding 5/35 was pivotal. With a tiny target of 26, Australia cruised to victory without losing a wicket. Travis Head's impactful performance earned him the Player of the Match award, highlighting Australia's comprehensive display in the series opener.  

3 things you need to know 

  • Australia beat West Indies by 10 wickets 
  • Australia leads the series by 1-0 
  • Travis Head was named ‌Player of the Match  

Also Read: Rinku Singh included in India-A test squad ahead of ENG series

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Andrew McDonald backs the new Australian opener, Steve Smith, after his latest struggles 

Andrew McDonald, the head coach of Australia, has stated that he supports Steve Smith after Smith had some early difficulties while beginning the innings in Test matches. Even though Smith was dismissed early—he was out for just 12—and gave West Indies' Shamar Joseph his first-ever Test wicket, the 42-year-old coach still views Smith as a valuable problem-solver and thinks he should stick to playing at the top of the order.

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Smith was undefeated at 11 in the second innings as Australia successfully chased down the necessary 26 runs with 10 wickets remaining. Speaking to the media on Saturday, McDonald said that Smith and Khawaja had been positioned as openers because of their long-standing partnership. The Victorian coach went into further detail about his viewpoint in statements made via Cricket Australia. Andrew McDonald said: 

"I suppose it's more just the connection of Usman and Smudge over time. We've seen Davey and Usman's connection and then the partnerships that they've been able to produce. That'll be how we judge it – how that partnership functions."

"They're world-class performers at the top of the order and we think Steve Smith is one of the best problem solvers in the game. We've said that leading into this and it makes sense for us that he's at the top."

Khawaja, who made a huge contribution with a pivotal 45 in Adelaide's first innings, may miss the second Test after being hit off the chin by Joseph. It is said that the left-handed batter would be subjected to concussion testing to be cleared to play in the Brisbane Test.

Unpredictability has been injected by Shamar Joseph, who removed Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne in the first innings. As the squad prepares for the Brisbane Test, coach Andrew McDonald acknowledges the uncertainty at play and plans to confront and resolve it. McDonald added:

“There's an element in particular with (facing) Joseph … sight unseen is always difficult for batters, when you haven't seen someone and gotten used to their rhythm and the cues they present. Sometimes you do get drawn into shots that potentially you don't play. We saw that with Marnus as well – I think it was maybe his second bouncer, he probably didn't have the cues and it rushed him a little bit and brought about his demise.”

Also Read: Rohit Sharma makes history in T20I cricket after India vs Afghanistan

As the World Test Champions dominate the format, the West Indies will look to bounce back and level the series when the 2nd and final Test starts on January 25, 2024. 

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Published January 20th, 2024 at 12:35 IST

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