Smith will feed off criticism – Paine

Venue: The Gabba, Brisbane Time: 00:00 GMT Date: 15-19 January
Coverage: Live ABC Grandstand commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, BBC Sounds & BBC Sport website and app.

Australia batsman Steve Smith will “feed” off recent criticism and show his best form in the deciding final Test against India this week, says captain Tim Paine.

Smith denied deliberately scuffing up the crease to remove the batsmen’s guard in the drawn third Test.

Former England bowler Darren Gough described it as “plain cheating”.

“Steve is in a good frame of mind. He’s mentally very strong, very tough,” Paine said.

“We’ve seen through what he’s been through in the last three years. He knows sometimes he’s going to be criticised and he’s handled that supremely well.

“If anything, I think he feeds off it. His statistics speak for themselves and we’ll see the best of Steve Smith again this week.”

The final Test of the four-match series, which is level at 1-1, starts at 00:00 GMT on Friday in Brisbane.

Smith, who was banned from playing for a year and sacked as captain in 2018 after the ball-tampering scandal, was given a hostile reception by England supporters in the 2019 Ashes but scored 774 runs at 110.57 with three centuries.

He said he is “shocked and disappointed” by the accusations, while coach Justin Langer said he is “100% innocent”. Smith said he was shadow batting and was not trying to gain an advantage.

Smith made only 10 runs in his first four innings of the series, but was named player of the match in the third Test after scoring 131 and 81.

Australia will be without opener Will Pucovski, who scored 62 on debut in Sydney, after he injured a shoulder while fielding.

An already depleted India will be without all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja after he had thumb surgery.

India’s injury problems

  • Mohammed Shami: Fast bowler ruled out of series after fracturing forearm in first Test.
  • Virat Kohli: Captain and star batsman returned home after first Test for birth of first child.
  • Umesh Yadav: Pace bowler suffered calf strain in second Test and ruled out of final two matches.
  • KL Rahul: In squad as spare batsman, he sprained wrist in training, ruling him out of final two Tests.
  • Ravindra Jadeja: Series ended by blow to thumb in the Test.
  • Hanuma Vihari: All-rounder tore hamstring in match-saving innings in third Test and set to miss decider.
  • Jasprit Bumrah: Fast bowler suffered abdominal strain in third Test. A doubt for fourth.
  • Ravichandran Ashwin: Off-spinner woke with back pain during third Test before helping salvage draw on final day. Doubtful for Brisbane.
  • Rishabh Pant: Wicketkeeper injured elbow in third Test but likely to play as specialist batsman in series finale.

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