NICK HOWSON AT OLD TRAFFORD: He might have scored a fine 211 and helped Australia take a giant stride towards retaining the Ashes but nullifying England's premier seamer appears to give him equal satisfaction
Australia's Steve Smith remains mystified by England's short-pitched approach after Jofra Archer and co. were unable to prevent him going to a brilliant double century on day two of the fourth Ashes Test at Old Trafford.
Archer had enjoyed ample success in the second Test at Lord's, striking Smith on two occasions during a hostile spell which forced the No.1 Test batsman out of the remainder of that game and the Headingley thriller last week.
Upon the 30-year-old's return to the Australia team England reverted to those tactics but without success.
Smith did graze the fingertips of Archer with a straight drive and was reprieved whena Jack Leach delivery which he edged behind was adjudged to be a no-ball, but he coped with short balls with aplomb on the way to his third double hundred.
Having taunted England before his comeback that a succession of bouncers would not faze him, Smith has stuck the knife in again.
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"Them bowling there (short) means they can't hit me on the pad or nick me off and it softened the ball up so it played in our hands I think and for us to score some big first-innings runs," said Smith, whose Australia team declared on 497 for 8 and reduced England to 23 for 1 at the close heading into day three.
"You got through different gears I guess when you scores runs you have different mindsets.
"When you score runs people try different things and you have to be switched on and adapt to the tactics which they are throwing at you and get through them. It changes throughout your innings.
He added: "Lord's was a tough wicket. It was up and down and with the slope and his angle it wasn't overly easy. That was hard work.
"I said before the game that if they're bowling up at my head then they're not bowling at my stumps trying to get me out lbw or caught behind the wicket.
"I think that perhaps played into our favour a little bit. When Stuart Broad came on with the new ball he hit some really nice lengths and beat my bat a couple of times.
"He was quite challenging when he hit that length. For them to go as short as they did with the new ball and soften that ball up played into our hands."