Trevor Bayliss has fired back at “cheeky little bugger” Steve Smith, saying his former pupil’s critique of England’s defensive fields was wrong.
Australia’s 17-man Ashes squad had expressed nothing but reverence toward former NSW coach Bayliss until Smith spoke out on day one of the second Test.
Smith, unbeaten on 129 and en route to his maiden double-ton, quipped after play that England got “defensive quite quickly”.
“I was a little bit surprised that Trevor Bayliss would allow Alastair Cook to have a deep point for as long as he did,” Smith said.
Bayliss, who promoted Smith to first drop at NSW and handed him the captaincy of Sydney Sixers, sensed it was an unsuccessful attempt to unsettle the hosts.
“Cheeky little bugger,” Bayliss laughed.
“I’ll have a word to him after the series.
“I know he was seeing them well, but what – he doesn’t see the three or four catchers we had in place for the whole day?
“I’m sure that was a little bit of a dig.”
Bayliss had no problem with the fields set by Cook on day one, when Smith and Chris Rogers took the game away from England.
“If you have a look at most of the 90 overs that day, we had two or three slips and a couple of short catchers for most of the day,” he said.
“Maybe if we had a bit more defensive field they wouldn’t have scored 1-340.”
Cook clipped England’s bowling attack when asked if he would set different fields to Smith and Rogers with the benefit of hindsight.
“We didn’t bowl as well as we did in Cardiff. It made it very hard as a side to get any control,” Cook said.
“Sometimes you try and stem a few runs as well, you can’t always go out and attack.”
Smith’s knock of 215 returned the gifted right-hander to No.1 spot in the ICC’s Test batting rankings.
It also made a mockery of Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann’s pre-series predictions that Smith could be vulnerable at first drop in England.
Broad, speaking after Smith’s double ton on day two, was unwilling to back down.
“Well these are more Indian conditions than English conditions, aren’t they?” Broad smirked.