Smith at first drop helps England: Broad

It wasn’t quite as forthright as Graeme Swann’s declaration, but the message was largely the same.

England are licking their lips at the prospect of testing out Steve Smith’s technique at first drop.

So says Stuart Broad, the 29-year-old who delivered an inspired spell of swing bowling to seal the hosts’ Ashes win in 2013.

Broad insisted Smith’s recent promotion to No.3 was a major boost to England’s bid to reclaim the urn, adding further spice to the series opener that starts in Cardiff on July 8.

“It’s an advantage for us with him coming in at No.3 with the Dukes ball in England,” Broad said.

“If he comes in at five like Joe Root does for us, there’s not many weaknesses there.

“But with the ball moving around in England, we know how hard it is to bat in that top three.

“I’m certainly not doubting the quality of him as a player … but you have to have a very tight technique to bat in the top three against the Dukes ball in England.”

Broad also pointed to Smith’s output two years ago as cause for confidence against the 26-year-old, who occupies top spot on the International Cricket Council’s Test batting rankings.

“He’s not had amazing success in England. When he played in the 2013 series he got a hundred at the Oval on a flat wicket,” he said.

Smith, speaking after posting a ton on day two of Australia’s opening tour game against Kent, suggested he was a completely different player compared to 2013.

“I know my game a lot better now than I did then. I was fresh back in the side then, I have certainly got a lot more confidence in my game now,” he said.

Broad was confident his side could stop Smith’s incredible run of form, which has featured five tons in his past six Tests.

“I’ve got a few ideas to run past a few players that seem to think it might be a good option. I won’t share them with you yet,” he said.

Smith wasn’t fazed.

“It is obviously going to be a challenge playing against the new ball, particularly in these conditions,” he said.

“But I have enjoyed batting at No.3 so far and hopefully I can continue having some success there.”

Former England offspinner Swann opined earlier this week that Smith “must have surprised himself, as well as everyone else, with his output”.

“I still don’t think he’s got a great technique,” Swann said.

“I don’t think he’ll score runs at three if it’s swinging.”

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