England legend Geoffrey Boycott says England should feel embarrassed by a throwaway line from Steve Smith after the first Ashes Test.
Following match-winning twin centuries of 144 and 142 in his first Test since the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa, Smith was understandably over the moon.
“I love Test cricket and I love playing against England,” Smith said at the time.
“It’s a terrific place to play Ashes cricket and these last four days, it’s felt like Christmas morning every morning coming to do this.”
However the seemingly innocent quote hasn’t sat well with Boycott, who says it should be an embarrassing wake-up call for England that they’re being likened to the enjoyment of Christmas.
“He is right but a comment like that should be embarrassing for the England players and should really hurt them,” Boycott wrote for The Telegraph on Tuesday.
Boycott also said England need a radical re-think of their tactics against Smith.
“Why not try bowling at the stumps with plenty of protection on the on side?” he pondered.
“If he misses then leg before and bowled come back into play.
“Our seamers have yet to try bowling around the wicket to him.
“They are quick to go around the wicket to left-handers and in fact prefer that mode of attack but not to Smith.”
Root vows to be patient chasing Smith scalp
Joe Root has put his hand up as being partly to blame for England's struggles to dismiss Smith at Edgbaston, declaring he needs to be more patient at Lord's.
The prized scalp of Smith, who celebrated his return to Test cricket from a year-long ban by posting twin tons in Birmingham, will be key if England are to level the Ashes series at 1-1.
Root, reflecting on the threat posed by Smith in the second Test the starts at 8pm AEST on Wednesday, suggested his team didn't need to reinvent the wheel.
Rather, the captain suggested he must show the same patience that Smith exhibits at the crease.
"One thing that I could have done slightly better, me personally as captain, was stick to a plan for a little bit longer," Root said.
"Give it a chance to work a little bit more.
"It was 18 times early on in that first innings he played and missed. It could have been very different.
"In some ways that's a sign that plans are working. We've just got to be a little bit more patient with it."
Smith posted his maiden double-ton at the home of cricket in 2015, an innings that delivered Australia a series-levelling Test victory over England.
The former skipper's batting streak against England dating back to that game is remarkable, he is averaging 101 from 10 Ashes Tests.
"He's got to start again this week ... new challenge, new wicket, different atmosphere," Root said.
"We've got to be really ruthless with it, stick to it."