Australia star Steve Smith ready for battle in his final Indian Test

In what he acknowledges is likely his final Test match in India, Steve Smith says “even quickfire 30s” from Australia’s batters could make all the difference in Ahmedabad.

With the touring side vying to level the Border-Gavaskar series at 2-2, the acting captain says being able to rapidly change the field and shift from attack to defence will be critical to prevent India from escaping their grasp.

The turn and low bounce again expected in the fourth Test on Thursday meant only one partnership or innings was needed to transform the game, Smith said.

“Because of the way the game is played here, and how each ball is, there is so much on each ball,” he said.

“I just try and make as many suggestions as I feel when I have a gut feeling, and I feel like I understand these conditions well.

“We’re playing games where it’s just like wherever the ball goes, just move to that spot next ball … that might sound a bit silly for some people … but if a ball goes to a certain position, they might try to play it a bit differently the next ball, which can bring in another mode of dismissal.”

Australian fans should not be surprised if the visitors quickly reverted to a defensive field for an Indian batter early in their innings, Smith said.

“Particularly, I think when for Pujara we pulled out that bat pad and stopped the scoring option and felt like we played a little bit differently – that’s what you’re trying to do on these kind of surfaces,” he said.

“Particularly when guys get in, and they’ve faced a few more balls, because we’ve seen how quickly things can turn around if you get a wicket, it’s incredibly hard to start.

“If someone gets in, sometimes you’ve got to go a little bit more negative, close down their scoring as much as possible and then if you get a wicket, you can start attacking again.”

Smith said he wanted Australia’s batters to “get out the right way” as they tried to play for straighter balls going on to hit the stumps.

“Guys getting quickfire 30s have also been able to shift the momentum – Shreyas Iyer last game got a quickfire 30 and just put a bit of pressure back on us, and we had to change things around,” he said.

“We’ve spoken about every ball being important and trying to let go of the ball … if it spins sharply past your bat, there’s a reasonable chance the next one is going to go straight.”

The 33-year-old, who joined teammates on Wednesday for a traditional celebration of Holi, the Indian festival of colours, said it was unlikely he would be a part of the Australian Test squad when they return to India in four year, with his focus on “enjoying this one”.

“I probably can’t see myself coming back, if I’m being realistic, but I don’t know,” he said.

“Hopefully, it’s a great, great crowd, and we can entertain them and ideally finish the series really well.”

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