Smith: England are ‘quite predictable’

“They don’t like to change a lot, and from our aspect we know that and we can play on it”

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Australia captain Steve Smith is hoping to prey on England’s predictability in their Champions Trophy clash at Edgbaston on Saturday.

Australia face a must-win situation if they want to advance to the semi-finals as their first two group stage games against New Zealand and Bangladesh were washed out.

England have already booked their place in the last four after thrashing Bangladesh and New Zealand. But, despite the hosts looking impeccable in both games, Smith is confident that his side will get the job done.

“I see them as a good team at the moment. I think they’ve played some good cricket, particularly here in England,” Smith said. “They know these conditions well, they are a dangerous side and are playing well at the moment.

“(But) they are quite predictable, they don’t like to change a lot, and from our aspect we know that and we can play on it.┬áThe bowlers have a set of skills that we know quite well. You know what they are going to do so you are halfway through the battle.”

Smith also hinted that Australia could use fast bowler John Hastings for the match against England as the pitch at Edgbaston is set to be more pace-friendly than the track they played Bangladesh on at The Oval.

Should that be the case, it is likely that Hastings will take leg-spinner Adam Zampa’s spot in the playing XI.

“We’ll have a look at it (the wicket) today and have another look tomorrow before the toss and see what we think is the best team,” Smith said. “I’m sure he’ll (Hastings) be talked about, particularly as a new wicket. He’s a guy that bowls that little bit slower and can hit the seam and generate – or get whatever’s in the wicket.

“Being a fresh wicket, there could be a little bit there, and he’ll certainly come into contention, I’m sure.”

Australia’s showdown against England will also be the first time that Smith and England all-rounder Ben Stokes have met since the Indian Premier League (IPL), where they both represented the Rising Pune Supergiants.

With Smith having captained Stokes during the IPL, he is hoping to use that to his advantage by trying to limit the impact the 26-year-old has on Saturday.

“He’s a pretty talented player in all aspects,” the Australian skipper admitted. “He’s a danger man for England. I know what he’s capable of. He’s in good nick at the moment, he’s hitting the ball well. There’s a few things in place for him, perhaps.”

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