Australia batsman Steve Smith said that he is focused on adapting to the bouncy conditions at the Gabba ahead of the first Test against Pakistan, which will be played at the venue.
Smith, the top-ranked batsman in the MRF Tyres ICC Test Rankings, has enjoyed a terrific year so far. He has accumulated 1299 runs at 72.16 in just 20 international appearances, including three centuries and nine half-centuries.
"I'm feeling good," Smith told cricket.com.au. "For me, the next few days is about getting used to the bounce at the Gabba and practising leaving (the ball) well, and just being patient again. I'm sure I'll get plenty of that work in, and be good to go on Thursday."
Smith last batted at the Gabba in the Sheffield Shield in October, when he suffered rare twin failures, getting dismissed for scores of 0 and 21 against Queensland. Since then, he has scored two hundreds in two Shield games for New South Wales in Sydney.
Those runs, however, came at the relatively slower and lower pitches at the Drummoyne Oval and the Sydney Cricket Ground and Smith is now focused on tuning up for the lively track at the Gabba ahead of Thursday's rendezvous against Pakistan. "I probably just have to try and get used to the bounce of the wicket again at the Gabba," he said.
"It's probably a little bit different to the last two Shield games I've played at Drummoyne and SCG, where they've been pretty benign wickets. I don’t think I had a slip in basically for the whole time I batted at Drummoyne and the SCG.
"I just found it hard scoring. There was no slip, there was a ring field, the square was pretty dead, and the wicket was pretty dead. There was a couple of times I hit and got it in the gap and thought 'that's runs", but it just died. So I couldn't get them away, but it's nice to spend some time in the middle all the same."
Pat Cummins, the No.1 bowler in the MRF Tyres ICC Test Rankings, has said that while the Gabba offers bounce and carry to pacers, the Australia attack will be conscious of not overusing the bouncer. "Like any other team, I'm sure we'll use some bouncers but, if we're using a bouncer it's because we think it's a wicket-taking ball," he explained.
"I don’t think we'll overdo it. We might have our different plans to different batters but, like always, I try and use one bouncer an over or once every couple of overs. It's going to be the full ball that gets the wickets."
The first Test between Australia and Pakistan begins on Thursday, 21 November.
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