Steve Smith supports Pat Cummins’ stance on date change


Match officials expect good crowds for the second Test, with 25,000 predicted for day one on Thursday, and 30,000 on Friday, before a cyclone drifting down the coast threatens rain for the last three days of the day-night match.

Smith confirmed Australia would play an unchanged side following a 10-wicket victory over the West Indies in little more than two days at Adelaide Oval last week. He expects Cameron Green to play despite he and coach Andrew McDonald being diagnosed with COVID-19.

Cameron Green will play despite having COVID.Credit: Getty

“I think he is fine,” Smith said of Green. “There is no physical drama at all.”

Cricket Australia released a statement saying Travis Head had tested negative on Tuesday and again on Wednesday morning after contracting the virus at the end of the first Test in Adelaide.

“Cameron Green and Andrew McDonald will be separated from the group until they return a negative test,” Cricket Australia said.

They will have to use a spare dressing room and sit outside, away from the rest of the squad and support staff.

The Gabba pitch on Wednesday.

The Gabba pitch on Wednesday.Credit: Daniel Brettig

Smith said he was happy to continue opening the batting despite a modest performance during his first Test at the top of the order last week. He scored 12 in the first innings before being dismissed by Shamar Joseph’s first ball in Test cricket, and was 11 not out in the second innings when Australia chased down 26 for victory.

“It was fun, I enjoyed it,” Smith said. “Obviously, I missed out in the first innings. Facing the first ball from Shamar, I didn’t really know what to expect. I feel like a lot of new bowlers have got me out before I have faced them for the first time, so it was nothing new. I felt good.”

Smith’s task will be made more interesting by the pink ball, particularly if he has to face a new ball under lights, although the pitch does not look as lively as last season, when the Test against South Africa lasted less than two days. Mowing and rolling has turned it from green to more of a straw colour with tinges of green.

“They are a pretty good attack with some good bowlers,” Smith said of the West Indies. “The pink ball, when it’s nipping around, might suit them like it does our bowlers. It is always a challenge batting under lights when the ball is new. It is always difficult.”

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Smith recalled the previous day-night Test played at the Gabba, against Pakistan in December 2016. He scored 130 of Australia’s 429, and Pakistan were bowled out for 142. Australia set them 490 to win, and they fell just 39 runs short in a brave chase.

“The ball got really soft quickly here,” Smith said. “If that is the case the new ball might be difficult, and then it might be nice to bat after that.”

Australia: Steve Smith, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Cameron Green, Travis Head, Mitchell Marsh, Alex Carey, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins (c), Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.

West Indies: TBC: Kraigg Brathwaite (c), Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Kirk McKenzie, Alick Athanaze, Kavem Hodge, Justin Greaves, Joshua Da Silva, Alzarri Joseph, Gudakesh Motie, Kemar Roach, Shamar Joseph.

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