Ashes 2019: Head says Smith can counter Leach threat

By Sports Desk August 07, 2019

Travis Head hailed Steve Smith as "one of the best players of spin in the world" as the England selectors reportedly ponder picking Jack Leach for the second Ashes Test at Lord's.

Smith scored magnificent centuries in both innings in the opening match of the series at Edgbaston, inspiring Australia to a 251-run victory.

The former captain was outstanding in his first Test since serving a one-year ban for his part in the ball-tampering scandal, making the England bowlers suffer following a great start in Birmingham.

Jofra Archer looks set to replace the injured James Anderson, while Leach could get the nod with Moeen Ali out of sorts with bat and ball.

Head, who made a half-century in the second innings and 35 in the first, says Smith will not be concerned about the prospect of facing Leach, despite not having such a great record against left-arm tweakers.

"He's one of the best players of spin in the world," Head said.

He added: "He's fantastic to bat with. He sucks the momentum out of the opposition and the way he batted in this game, it was nice to be at the other end with him.

"It's nice, I feel like I can get in a nice rhythm with him at the other end. You know he's not going anywhere - but I pride myself on making a contribution and trying to have really good partnerships.

"He's obviously in great form so it's nice to be at the other end and he obviously takes a bit of pressure off myself. They are trying to think of some plans to stop him so I was able to go a little bit under the radar, which was nice.

"So hopefully [there will be] a little bit more batting to do in the next four Tests with him."

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