The series between Australia and India has been fierce contest both on and off the field but between the two captains, it is Australia’s Steven Smith who has stood head and shoulders above Kohli. Many expected India to decimate the Australians in the 4 match test series but the Australians have a good chance of winning the 4th test in Dharamsala, winning the series 2-1 and retaining the Border-Gavaskar trophy.
The Indian spinners which ran through New Zealand, England and Bangladesh this season have struggled to have the same effect against the Australians and that is largely due to the performance of Steven Smith. Ex-captain Michael Clarke remarked during the third test in Ranchi that the Indian bowlers did not have a plan on how to get Smith out. Smith scored his third century of the series in Dharamsala with a well compiled 111 that helped his side reach a respectable score of 300 in the first innings.
Smith is the second captain to have scored three centuries in a series in India, joining former England captain Alistair Cook. Smith’s technique is not text book but it has been extremely effective both in Australia as well as on the sub-continent. He has always done well against the Indians and his form against hasn’t dipped at all. In comparison, Virat Kohli has had an exceptionally poor series against the Australians and has missed the fourth test due to a shoulder injury.
The off-field chatter and Kohli’s remarks against the Australians in particular Steven Smith has only served to fuel Smith’s fighting character and he has replied in style with an abundance of runs. India’s top scorer for this series in Cheteshwar Pujara made a lot of runs but at a low strike which never really posed a serious threat for the Australians as unlike Smith, Pujara showed no signs of taking the game away from the opposition.
Smith has one more innings left in Dharamsala and he will be hoping he can continue his rich vein of form to set India a formidable total in the second innings and give his bowlers a great chance to put pressure on India and bowl them out. Smith will definitely be a strong contender for the man of the series but his first priority will be to secure a win and show the Indian captain that runs on the cricket field will always be more important than what’s said in the press.