Steve Smith has admitted that he and his Australian Test teammates have been ‘surprised’ at Stuart Broad ’s lack of game time during this winter’s Ashes series.
Australia have blown England away over the past four weeks, as they head into this week’s fourth Test having already secured the urn by winning the opening three matches on home soil.
One man who has played a surprisingly small part in England’s time down under is bowling stalwart Broad, who has been left out of both the first and third Test, and this has come as a surprise to Aussie star Smith.
Speaking ahead of the fourth test in Sydney the former captain said: “We have been surprised, there has probably been two wickets that would have suited him well [in the first and third Tests].”
Broad did feature in the second Test in Adelaide, and despite only taking two wickets over the two innings, did cause the Australian batsman all sorts of problems, consistently beating the bat.
His hardworking showing at the Adelaide Oval was also noted by Smith in his comments, who added that he always has a ‘good contest’ when up against Broad.
Smith continued: “He bowled well in Adelaide and he’s always been a good contest for me.
“He’s got me out a few times, I’ve scored runs off him. I think it’s been a decent battle.
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“Him and Jimmy [Anderson] together have been world-class performers for a long time. Maybe we’ll see them together this week.”
Smith’s sentiments about Broad’s omission have also been echoed by former Australian all-rounder Shane Watson, who made a similar point in his column for the Times.
Discussing the away side’s selection issues Watson revealed he was ‘gobsmacked’ when he found out Broad would not be involved in the series opener, especially after taking opener David Warner’s wicket seven times the last time the two sides met.
Watson wrote: “I was gobsmacked that Stuart Broad didn’t play the first Test, especially with David Warner being one of the key Australia batsmen, and knowing the mental edge that Stuart had over him.
“Dave would have heaved a massive sigh of relief not to have to face him until the second Test, where Stuart bowled nicely.”
And like Smith, he also had praise for the Nottinghamshire seamer’s efforts in the second Test in Adelaide.
“A lot of the batters played and missed at him and those balls could have taken the edge,” added the former all-rounder.
“It’s not like he bowled badly. Because of his height, Stuart doesn’t need to bowl express pace to be effective.
“If he continues to look after his body like he has, he should have a few more good years of cricket in front of him.”
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