MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Master batsman Steve Smith is consulting experts on how to get a better night’s sleep before cricket matches, but will be fully alert when facing his Brisbane nemesis Yasir Shah in the second test in Adelaide, according to Australia captain Tim Paine.
Smith, a brand ambassador and investor in an Australian mattress company, revealed he was “an awful sleeper” during the Ashes series in England, saying his mind would race with thoughts about where to hit the ball and how to play various bowlers.
Months later, on the eve of the pink-ball test against Pakistan at Adelaide Oval, Smith was still tossing and turning, Paine said.
“I know he’s working with people at Cricket Australia and elsewhere on trying to find a better night’s sleep,” Paine told reporters in Adelaide on Thursday.
“It’s not a great endorsement for his Koala mattress company but he’s working on trying to get better at that and trying to relax a bit more between games.
“I don’t think it’s an easy fix for someone who’s wired the way Steve is.”
Paine confirmed Australia would have an unchanged lineup at Adelaide Oval after thrashing Pakistan by an innings and five runs in Brisbane to take a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.
The Tasmanian was thrilled how the rejigged top six performed at the Gabba, with all the specialist batsmen getting runs except Smith, who was bowled for four by legspinner Yasir.
Smith’s cheap dismissal was a rare highlight for Pakistan in Brisbane, and Yasir celebrated by holding up seven fingers to show the amount of times he has taken the Australian’s wicket.
The gesture prompted jokes from Smith’s team mates that Yasir had “woken up the beast”, and the batsman remarked that he looked forward to his next battle with the 33-year-old spinner.
Paine said it was rare for Smith, who scored 774 runs at an average of 110.57 against England in the recent Ashes, to fail twice in a row.
“I think he’ll look to put (Yasir) under pressure,” he said.
“I’ve sensed that he was extra motivated, I guess, after the little send-off he got.”
(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)