Australian captain Steve Smith, one of the finest batsmen of the current era, revealed after helping his side save the fourth Ashes Test that he does not enjoy watching the sport.
The combo of India-like lifeless MCG pitch and Smith’s 23rd Test hundred thwarted England in their effort to claim a maiden victory of a series that has already seen them surrender the Ashes urn.
Smith scored an unbeaten ton of 102 as Australia declared on 263-4, England settling for a draw having never come close to taking the eight wickets they needed at the start of the final day to set up a run chase.
Just for a note, only Don Bradman and Garfield Sobers have reached 23 Test tons in a shorter span of time but, asked what the key is to maintaining concentration at the crease, Smith made a surprising revelation.
“I don’t know the answer to that, to be honest with you. From my experience, I just want to be out there batting,” Smith told a media conference.
“I don’t actually like watching cricket that much and I prefer to be out there batting and getting the job done. I think that’s part of it.
“You’ve just got to try and stay as focused as you can each ball, treat every ball like a different challenge and get through as many as you can.”
According to Omnisport, the surface in Melbourne did not deteriorate and offered nothing in the way of pace or bounce and Smith expressed his dissatisfaction, believing it should not make a difference that it was a drop-in pitch.
“I think it just needs to do something. It hasn’t changed over five days and if we were playing for the next couple of days, it probably wouldn’t change either,” he added.
“It’s got to find a way to have some pace and bounce, or take some spin, or do something. Obviously, we saw a reasonable amount of reverse swing throughout the game, but the ball just gets so soft so quickly because the surface is quite hard.
“It gets soft and doesn’t carry through and it’s really difficult to get people out.
“I think some of them [drop-in pitches] around the country are good. If you look at Adelaide, I think that’s one of the best wickets in the country.
“It’s just about finding something in them, I don’t know what you can do. I noticed this wicket was just rolled and rolled and rolled, I don’t know if that has an impact on the lack of bounce and carry, I’m not sure.
“You’ve just got to find something in it. There’s absolutely nothing in it for the bowlers. They have to work their backsides off, you’d just like to see something in it for them.”