The final day of a dramatic third Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground was pulsating. Rishabh Pant was playing a blazing innings and putting India on course for an improbable win. Cheteshwar Pujara was stonewalling the Australian bowlers brilliantly. At the other end, Australia were getting desperate. In a moment that created huge controversy, Steve Smith was caught on camera trying to scruff up the batting marks that were created by Rishabh Pant at the crease. The move saw social media label Steve Smith as a cheat and there were many other analysts, notably from England, who said that Steve Smith had once again cheated. However, the accusations that were levelled at Steve Smith was not true and on Wednesday, he sought to clarify the matter.
“I have been quite shocked and disappointed by the reaction to this. It’s something I do in games to visualise where we are bowling, how the batter is playing our bowlers and then out of habit I always mark centre,” Steve Smith said in an interaction with the Daily Telegraph. Steve Smith had earlier found support from Australia skipper Tim Paine who said that this was one of the unusual quirks that Steve Smith has. Smith loves batting and occasionally, he does these kinds of action which are different from the rest. Steve Smith roared back to form in the Sydney Test with a brilliant 131 and 81 and he was named the player of the match.
Speaking about the incident, Paine said, “He is really disappointed with the way it has come across. If you watch Steve Smith play Test cricket that is something he does every single game five or six times a day. He does this a lot.He is always in the batting crease batting. As we know he has those many Steve Smith quirks. One of them is that he was always marking centre. He was certainly not changing (Pant’s) guard. I imagine if he was the Indian players would have kicked up a bit of a stink at the time. I have seen Steve do it many times in Tests and games I have played against him. He likes to visualise how he is going to play. Yesterday you could see him up there playing shots as a left-hander to where he wanted Lyono to pitch the ball,” Paine said.
Stormy Sydney Test
The Sydney Test once again had controversy when it came to the India vs Australia match. In shades of the dark tour of 2008, a racism incident once again marred the match and this time, the victims were Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah. Immediately, Siraj went to the onfield umpire and reported the action as the miscreants were thrown out of the stadium.
As the game progressed, Tim Paine and Ravichandran Ashwin were involved in a bitter war of words with Tim Paine apparently jibing the batsman on their indecision to travel to Brisbane. The exchange did not go down well with many people and the Australian cricket team skipper apologised in an impromptu press conference.