Ashes 2019: England won't change approach to Smith, says Bairstow

By Sports Desk September 05, 2019

Steve Smith continued to dominate England on day two of the fourth Ashes Test but Jonny Bairstow insists the hosts will not change their approach against the in-form Australia batsman.

After sitting out the one-wicket loss at Headingley that levelled the series due to concussion, Smith marked his return to the line-up by scoring a stunning 211 at Old Trafford on Thursday.

The former Australia captain was dropped on 65 and also granted a reprieve when he edged Jack Leach to Ben Stokes at slip on 118, only for replays to show the spinner had overstepped.

It was the third time Smith has reached triple figures in the series and his third double century in Tests – all of which have come against England.

Despite the top-ranked batsman again proving the main source of frustration for the hosts, who lost Joe Denly as they reached stumps at 23-1 in response to Australia's 497-8 declared, Bairstow does not anticipate Joe Root's men to alter the way they try to dismiss Smith.

Bairstow said: "Fair play to the way Smith has come out and played. He's obviously got the bit between his teeth and is in great form.

"You've got to give him a lot of credit for the way he's applied himself and scored the runs that he has.

"I am not sure we are the only team around the world who have tried a few different plans [to get him out]. We'll be sticking to the plans that we've got.

"He's played and missed to a few balls today which he hasn't previously in the series. On another day we get him out earlier."

England need a strong third day in Manchester to eat into Australia's 474-run advantage, but Bairstow is confident the hosts can turn the tide.

"There are three innings and three days of cricket left," he said. "If we can go out and apply ourselves tomorrow, bat for a long period of time like we did at Headingley there is no reason why not.

"Let's look at the next day, let's look at the next session and see where we get to."

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