Steve Smith was still outstanding: Langer

Rob Forsaith
Steve Smith scored 214 runs in five innings against New Zealand this summer

Justin Langer has welcomed the prospect of more teams targeting Steve Smith with a bouncer barrage, suggesting the superstar's value in the recent trans-Tasman series should not be underestimated.

Smith could do little wrong in last year's Test comeback from a year-long suspension, earning man-of-the-series honours while dominating England's bowlers and ensuring Australia held onto the Ashes.

That run spree stopped when the batsman widely considered the world's best returned home.

Smith scored 254 runs at 36.28 from seven Test innings in 2019-20, with a knock of 85 at the MCG proving the closest he came to a 27th Test ton.

The right-hander's running battle with New Zealand paceman Neil Wagner, who peppered him with short stuff throughout Australia's 3-0 series win, was well documented.

Smith struggled to score freely when confronted with the tactic, memorably taking 39 balls to get off the mark at the SCG.

"Don't underestimate the impact Steve Smith had on this series. He didn't get the big hundreds and the big accolades but he chewed up a lot of balls when it really mattered," Langer told reporters.

"He was outstanding without doing the superhuman stuff he did in the Ashes.

"He had a great series and as I keep saying, he's the best problem solver I know in the game."

Langer pointed out that England adopted a similar tactic last year, when Smith returned from concussion to score 211 at Old Trafford.

"Wagner did it brilliantly but he is the master of that style of bowling. The other New Zealand guys tried to do it but it wasn't as effective," he said.

"Not many people can do that. Even our guys who bowl 15-20 km/h quicker, it's hard for them to do what he does.

"England tried to do it in the fourth (Ashes) Test but it wasn't very effective.

"They can keep trying it but he'll find a solution ... Smithy will work it out."

Smith's next challenge is Australia's three-match ODI series in India, which starts on Tuesday.