Birmingham: Steve Smith can expect an unfriendly greeting from the Edgbaston crowd in the first Test but England captain Joe Root is more interested in slowing him down with the bat, with the hosts believing the Australia No.4 could be susceptible again against the moving ball.
Australia have spoken about the reception they anticipate for the three players returning after lengthy bans over the sandpaper affair in South Africa, with captain Tim Paine saying Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft needed to be strong enough to handle it and would be trying “to use it as energy”.
Smith and Warner were booed during the World Cup and while Root, the mild-mannered England leader, won’t be rubbing last year’s incident in the trio’s faces, he said he could not control how the crowd would treat them in the first Test.
“I’m certainly not going to be stood there booing, that’s for sure,” he said. “It must have been a really tough time for the three of those guys. I can’t control how other people are going to react within the ground, and how the crowd go about that. I think the one-dayers gave a small idea of what it probably will be like for them.”