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Stand-in Australia skipper Smith looks to salvage India Test series


By AFP
Published : 27 Feb 2023 08:38 PM

A depleted Australia will look to stand-in captain Steve Smith for inspiration after two demoralising Test defeats in India as they try to salvage the series when the third match begins in Indore Wednesday.

Captain Pat Cummins flew home to be with his seriously ill mother after Australia's second straight loss inside three days in Delhi last week and opted not to return for the third Test, saying it was "best being here with my family". 

Opener David Warner will miss the rest of the series after suffering a fractured elbow and concussion in Delhi and pace bowler Josh Hazlewood has flown home with a persistent Achilles.

India's 2-0 lead means they have already retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy leaving Australia the task of winning both of the remaining Tests to level the four-match series.

Fit-again duo of all-rounder Cameron Green and left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Starc are likely to be recalled, though spin is sure to play a big part in the match.

"If myself or some of the other seamers get a chance out here we will have to play an important role with the spinners to take those 20 wickets," Starc said Monday. 

Smith was Australia captain between 2014 and 2018 before the "sandpapergate" scandal in South Africa ended his tenure.

He captained the team that toured India in 2017 and led from the front with his batting as Australia went down to the hosts 2-1 in a hard-fought series.

"It is pretty seamless," said Starc of Smith stepping in. 

"He has obviously done it for a long time. I have played a lot of cricket with Steve as captain," said Starc.

"Hopefully it's another great week for our team to bounce back from the last two."