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Stuart Broad's guide to dismissing Steve Smith

Key England paceman offers solution to one of international cricket's most-pondered questions

While Stuart Broad claims England's bowling plans for the upcoming Magellan Ashes series won't begin to crystallise until they reach Brisbane for the opening Test, he admits to mulling over the quandary that has confronted most of the world's front-line bowlers of late.

How does one attempt to quell and possibly nullify the effectiveness of Australia's captain and premier batter, Steve Smith?

Over the past 12 months, only India's Cheteshwar Pujara (1252) has scored more Test runs than Smith's 1237 across matches in Australia, India and Bangladesh, and Broad acknowledges that Smith looms as the opposition batter into whom the most planning will go.

And the one around whom there exists the most conflicting advice.

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"Obviously we had plans for him in England (during the 2015 Ashes in the UK), but it was quite clear in England that if you don't get him out early he seems to get big scores, and probably even more so in Australia because the pitches stay flatter for a bit longer," Broad told reporters in Adelaide.

"You hear all sorts of theories from people, particularly before the last Ashes series – bowl straight at him, try to hit his leg stump, come around the wicket to him, bowl yorkers - leg stump, have five (fielders) on the leg side.

"But I don't think his stats suggest that he gets out lbw and bowled very often, unless the pitch is going up and down.

"He's got huge scoring areas from straight, so I think we have to look for his outside edge up until about day three and then, if the pitches start going slightly up and down or crack like the Gabba can do … that can bring the lbw in.

"But if the bounce is true, I don't think Smith is an lbw or bowled candidate so we have to look for his outside edge."


Broad admits that the skills he deployed with such lethal effect in 2015 – Australians still wake screaming when they recall his swing and seam masterclass that netted him 8-15 on the first morning at Trent Bridge – won’t be of much use on flat, hard pitches down under.

So he has been studying archival footage and channelling the mindset of one of his boyhood bowling heroes, Australia's most successful Test seamer Glenn McGrath, in formulating his strategies for the coming campaign.

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"I'm not going to swing it here," Broad said ahead of his this third Ashes campaign in Australia.

"I look through all my heroes like Glenn McGrath and he's not a swing bowler, you've got to hit the pitch hard, like a Josh Hazlewood.

"If you're six-foot six (inches), you hit the pitch hard, you get length, and if you get a nibble either way you're bringing the stumps and the (bat) edge in.

"If I look to swing it, I bowl too full, I bowl floaty and I'm crap - I know that.

"I like bowling in Australia because it encourages you to hit the pitch hard, I tried to bowl a bit too full at the WACA (in last weekend's opening tour game) so I've learned that lesson.

"I then bowled that heavy length that gets wickets in Australia."

The 31-year-old has also been tinkering with his technique, revealing that some of the alterations he made to his action for that 2015 Ashes series to better target Australia's surfeit of left-handed batters (he finished with 22 wickets at 27.45) subsequently reduced his effectiveness against right-handers.

The fact that the change saw his average against left-handers drop from around 38 runs per wicket to almost 14 highlights how effectively Broad can evolve his game.

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Although the likelihood of Australia naming five left-handers in their top eight for the first Magellan Ashes Test starting at the Gabba on November 23 might force him to revert back to his revised method, especially with the new ball against incumbent openers David Warner and Matthew Renshaw.

Broad hasn't seen a lot of Renshaw, the Yorkshire born opener who the England quick described as something of an "old-school opening batter" but noted the starkly contrasting styles between the aggressive Warner and his much more sedate junior partner.

And from what Broad was prepared to reveal, it seems likely England won't be unhappy to see Warner dominate the strike in the early overs of the innings when the ball is shiny and hard.

Warner creates history with first-session ton

"I think Warner, you have to try and bowl a lot of balls at him with the new ball because it's your best chance of getting him out, but if he gets in, you can't do what Pakistan did in Sydney last year (when Warner scored a century before lunch on day one)," Broad said.

"I was watching that in a park in Hobart, and he just keep going and going so you need to have a plan B and with someone like Warner, you have to (implement) plan B a lot quicker than with a lot of other batters.

"He's one of those blokes that is not that enjoyable to play against, but if he's in your team you love him because he always drives your team forward.

"You have characters like that in most successful sports teams.

"Someone that - if he's in the field - will stay in the battle, will look you in the eye all the time, keep his bowlers moving if it's going quiet, someone who can take the game away from you quickly.

"These are the sort of guys that you want to play against, who spur you on.

"You know that if you get it wrong against him he can hurt you, but it's also extremely exciting if you get him out."

2017-18 International Fixtures:

Magellan Ashes Series

First Test Gabba, November 23-27. Buy tickets

Second Test Adelaide Oval, December 2-6 (Day-Night). Buy tickets

Third Test WACA Ground, December 14-18. Buy tickets

Fourth Test MCG, December 26-30. Buy tickets

Fifth Test SCG, January 4-8 (Pink Test). Buy tickets

Gillette ODI Series v England

First ODI MCG, January 14. Buy tickets

Second ODI Gabba, January 19. Buy tickets

Third ODI SCG, January 21. Buy tickets

Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26. Buy tickets

Fifth ODI Perth TBC, January 28. Join the ACF

Prime Minister's XI

PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2. Buy tickets

Gillette T20 INTL Series

First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3. Buy tickets

Second T20I – Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7. Buy tickets

Third T20I – Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Buy tickets

Fourth T20I – NZ v England, Wellington, February 13

Fifth T20I – NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16

Sixth T20I – NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18

Final – TBC, Eden Park, February 21