Australia legend Ricky Ponting backs ‘all-time great’ Steve Smith to bounce back amid India struggles

Steve Smith has endured a slow start to Australia’s Test series against India (Picture: Getty)

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting insists he is not overly concerned about Steve Smith’s dip in form and says the ‘all-time great’ will soon bounce back from his struggles against India.

Smith has made scores of 1, 1*, 0 and 8 in the first two Test matches of Australia’s four-match series against India.

Ponting expected Smith to be Australia’s leading run-scorer after he scored back-to-back centuries in the ODI series in the build-up to the Tests.

While that prediction looks dead in the water, Ponting is still backing Smith to produce a match-defining innings against India as the Baggy Greens look to reclaim the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

Australia won the opening Test by eight wickets but India look set to level the series in Melbourne, with the hosts 133-6 in their second innings and leading by just two runs going into day four of the Boxing Day Test.

‘He’s not having much go his way at the moment,’ Australia legend Ponting told

‘I think he would have liked to have his time over with his first-inning dismissal here, he would have played that differently.

‘But he’s one of the all-time greats of the game – everyone is allowed to have a few bad games here and there.

‘The one thing I do know is that Australia need Steven Smith to stand up, especially against this bowling attack India have.

‘The two one-day hundreds he made were as good as I’ve ever seen him play.

‘Knowing what he’s like when he gets into that groove and as he talks about ‘finding his hands’, I thought that would flow over into this series and it hasn’t yet.

‘There’s still potentially four more innings for him and we know that if he gets in and set he can make a big score.’

Australian opener Joe Burns has also struggled against India, making scores of 8, 51*, 0 and 4 from his four innings.

Ponting expects prolific opener David Warner to replace Burns for the third Test after recovering from injury.

He added: ‘The ball that [Burns] got was an exceptional delivery but if you look at that there are some technical issues he’s going to have to work through and I’m sure he’s continuing to work on.

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting (Picture: Getty)

‘I know Justin Langer and [assistant coach] Andrew McDonald have been working with him on a daily basis around the defensive side of his game.

‘Just reading the tea leaves and seeing what I’m seeing it looks like Warner is going to be fit.

‘The amount of work I’ve seen him do the last couple of days suggest he’s on track.

‘If he is fit, the way that Wade is batting compared to the way Burns is batting, unfortunately I think it will have to be Burns that goes out.’

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