Australian batting mainstay Steve Smith on Thursday said he was looking to put Ravichandran Ashwin under pressure after being at the receiving end of the India off-spinner’s guile in the first two Tests. Smith’s form has been a topic of discussion since the start of the Border-Gavaskar trophy between India and Australia. In the first two matches, Smith had managed to score only 10 runs in the four innings. Ashwin had brilliantly planned his dismissal on two out of three occasions. Apart from India spinner, pacer Jasprit Bumrah rattled Smith’s stumps when he tried to shuffle across in his traditional fashion. Also Read - IPL 2021: Mumbai Indians Likely to Target Umesh Yadav, Sandeep Lamichhane, Tom Curran in Upcoming Mini Auction in February

Breaking his run of poor scores, the 31-year-old Smith played some attacking shots and marched to an unbeaten 31 by the close of play on the opening day of the third Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Thursday. “I’m good, nice to spend a bit of time out there, nice to stitch in a partnership with Marnus. I wanted to put Ashwin under a little bit of pressure which I haven’t done this series,” Smith said at the end of the day’s play. Also Read - Mohammed Siraj Makes Big Revelation on Racial Attacks in Australia From Crowd, Says Umpires Offered us Option to Leave Sydney Test Midway

He exhibited confidence through his body language after his arrival at the crease after joining his pupil Marnus Labuschagne. Australia were comfortable 166 for two at stumps of a rain-marred day, with Labuschagne giving Smith company on 67. Also Read - Cheteshwar Pujara Reveals Why he Decided to Let the Ball Hit His Body in Brisbane

As he faced the Indian bowlers, Smith looked determined to make a statement after his uncharacteristic run of low scores in the Test series.

“I was just trying to hold the grip a bit tighter, I’ve been struggling, so I was getting into good positions today. I was good to get a couple of boundaries early. Marnus played well, hopefully, we go along well tomorrow,” the star batsman added.

Smith and Labuschagne added 60 runs for the third wicket to help Australia regain some lost ground after the comprehensive defeat to the visitors in the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne.

The four-match Test series is currently locked at 1-1.