Cricket: Smith seeking dominance at home and away

By David Leggat

Steve Smith says his side is wary of No 1 ranked ODI bowler Trent Boult in home conditions. Photo / Getty Images
Steve Smith says his side is wary of No 1 ranked ODI bowler Trent Boult in home conditions. Photo / Getty Images

Australian captain Steve Smith's project of making his team a far tougher proposition away from home begins at Eden Park on Wednesday.

The Aussies' away record has been ordinary over the past three years. Time to put a halt to that, says Smith, who arrives in Auckland today for the highly-anticipated five-game visit.

"We're very hungry for New Zealand," Smith said. "We haven't performed extremely well away from home recently. That's top of my agenda, to make sure we play well away from home, and that starts in a couple of days' time.

"We want to continue playing good one-day cricket first. [New Zealand] play very well at home so we are going to have to be at our best if we want to beat them."

Smith skipped the past two T20s against India over the weekend. The bulk of the Australian players arrive on Monday.

The days of two or three warm up matches before a test series in New Zealand are long gone. Still, Smith believes preparation will be "adequate".

Several test players will be involved in the Sheffield Shield game between New South Wales and Western Australia at Lincoln, starting next Wednesday. Others will go into the tests, starting in Wellington on February 12, on a one-day diet.

"Everyone will be playing some form of cricket. We'll be ready to go for that series," he said.

And, even though he was below par for much of the pre-Christmas series in Australia, Smith warned of the dangers posed by New Zealand's best-ranked bowler, Trent Boult.

Boult - No 1 in the world ODI rankings, No 7 in tests - was troubled by back problems in the first two tests at Brisbane and Perth before bouncing back with a five-wicket haul in Australia's second innings of the inaugural day-night test in Adelaide.

"He looked like he was back to his best in the last couple of tests [against Sri Lanka before Christmas]," Smith said.

"He's done very well for New Zealand recently, and he bowls extremely well in New Zealand, so he's going to be a tough one for us.

"We are wary of him, but hopefully the batsmen can combat whatever he brings to us. He gets the ball to swing quite late, but the guys have seen quite a lot of him now. They know what he brings to the table.

"He's a very good bowler, so we have to make sure he's not getting us out and be able to score off him."

Smith is under no illusions about the type of pitch conditions New Zealand will prepare.

"They are going to prepare wickets that are going to do a little bit," he said. "But we've got some bowlers to hopefully get a bit out of that, and the batters are going to have to adapt a little bit better than we have previously on wickets that have done stuff."

Away record

Australia's record away from home in the past three years:

Tests: P 19, W 6, L 11, D 2
ODIs: P 21, W 10, L 9, N/R 2
T20: P7, W 4, L 3

- NZ Herald

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