No.1 ranked ICC Test batsman, Steve Smith, is eager to shrug off his poor run of form in the ongoing Border-Gavaskar series against India by spending more and more time at the crease.
Smith, who on Monday was named as the ICC Test Player of the Decade, is currently having his worst career slump, recording scores of 1, 1*, 0, and 8 in the series against India. The duck, in Melbourne, is his first in Test cricket since November 2013, and the aggregate of eight runs in the Boxing Day game is his lowest-ever aggregate in a Test match on home soil.
But Smith's struggle goes back to his last home summer. Since that superhuman effort in the Ashes in England in 2019, Smith is yet to score a century in Test cricket, averaging only 26.40 since then with just two fifty-plus scores.
"At the moment I'm searching for time in the middle; that's the most important thing for me," Smith told SEN on Tuesday.
"When I look at this year, 64 balls is the longest I've spent in the middle, during those one-day games.
"For me, that's important. I find a lot of rhythm out in the middle.
"You can bat as much as you want in the nets but there's nothing that can replicate what a game can do, so that for me is what I'm searching for at the moment.
"That can be tough to do, particularly in a Test match when you've got some quality bowlers."
Smith has been dismissed twice by Ravichandran Ashwin in the series, with the offie finding both sides of the edges, while Jasprit Bumrah git rid of him in Melbourne, finding the top of leg stump.
"I probably haven't played Ashwin as well as I would've liked; I probably would've liked to have put him under a bit more pressure," Smith said.
"I've sort of let him dictate terms and that's something I've probably never let any spinner do in my career.
"I've sort of taken it to them, been a bit more aggressive and made them change things.
"I haven't allowed that to happen, probably because I'm searching for just being out there for long enough.
"It's kind of a two-edged sword in a way, but I think I've just got to have the confidence to take it on and play my game."
Smith, who has been on tour since the England limited-over series, admitted that life in bui-secure bubble has been difficult, but said that he wouldn't use it as a reason behind his batting slump.
"It's a good stint away and those things can certainly have an impact on people's mental health and preparation and all things like that," Smith said.
"I'm not making any excuses by any stretch of the imagination.
"It's certainly very different times at the moment and you've got to be able to adapt."