Smith uncertain about Test batting order

Settling on a batting order will be Steve Smith’s first captaincy conundrum as he mulls whether to drop down to No.4.

Michael Clarke will retire after leading Australia in the fifth Ashes Test, with Smith to take the reins for a two-Test tour of Bangladesh in October.

Smith stepped up to first drop for the recent West Indies tour and remained at the all-important spot throughout the Ashes.

The 26-year-old scored his maiden double-century at Lord’s, but posted single-figure scores in his next four digs.

Smith, whose captaincy appointment was ratified by Cricket Australia’s board on Friday, is unsure whether he will stay at No.3.

“I’ve been thinking about it and it is also going to come down to the make up of the team and what will fit best,” Smith said.

“I haven’t completely decided to stay at three or not, we will wait and see.”

Smith suggested his form in the Ashes would not factor in the decision, it would be based on the other batsmen in the top order.

“I’ll just have to wait and see what the make up of the team is and what sits best with the team,” he said.

“I batted four at the back end of last summer when Michael was out and I was quite successful batting there.”

The classy right-hander had already become the country’s 45th Test captain last summer, when Clarke missed three Tests due to hamstring surgery.

Likewise, coach Darren Lehmann and CA boss James Sutherland had all but confirmed Smith’s ascension.

But the prospect of leading a new-look Australia alongside vice-captain David Warner didn’t properly sink in until a team meeting in Northampton on Friday morning.

“I didn’t think it was going to come around this quick,” Smith said.

“It’s really exciting. I’ve still got to perform and do well.

“That’s one thing I want to do from the start, lead from the front with my performances.

“It’s just a really exciting time for Australian cricket, a new era if you like and I’m really looking forward to everything that comes with the role.”

Smith and Warner first played together for NSW’s second XI in 2006 and their careers have followed similar trajectories.

“David and I are quite close friends and we’ve grown up playing a lot of cricket together,” Smith said.

“We know each other really well.

“We are going to be able to have honest conversations as a leadership group.”

Smith and Warner will lead the side in both one-day and Test cricket, starting with an ODI against Ireland on August 27.

Clarke’s swansong starts on Thursday at the Oval.

“He is down in London having a week off before his last game, which is going to be exciting for him and I guess all sorts of emotions are going to come out,” Smith said.

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