Australia ended Day 1 of the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Thursday. The hosts, who are leading the 3-match Test series 1-0, are in a dominant position in Melbourne against the Trans-Tasman rivals, New Zealand. At Stumps, Australia were 257-4 after 90 overs after New Zealand won the toss and elected to field first. Steve Smith was unbeaten on 77, while Travis Head accompanied him with 25 runs of his own.
Just before the lunch break, Steve Smith was facing an over from Neil Wagner. Wagner, who got Smith's wicket in both innings at Perth, targeted the batsman with a few short deliveries. Smith did not offer a shot to two of these deliveries and attempted to take a run but umpire Nigel Llong was not having any of it. Llong called a dead-ball in both situations and left Steve Smith fuming after the second call.
Smith got into an intense argument with umpire Nigel Llong, who was also very animated. Australian legends Shane Warne and Adam Gilchrist, who were on commentary duties, discussed the happenings too. Warne sided with Smith and insisted that Llong was wrong as Smith was entitled to a run after taking evasive action from the short ball. Gilchrist added a more open perspective as he explored the possibility of Llong being aware of the fact that Matthew Wade used a similar tactic earlier to get a few runs.
Smith was quite surprisingly booed by the 80,400-strong MCG crowd. Social media was abuzz watching that incident as well, with fans giving mixed reactions. Here are some of them:
I love it when Steve Smith tries to school other people on what’s within the laws of the game. #AUSvNZ— Michael Appleton (@michelappleton) December 26, 2019
He's actually right within the laws of the game, I love it to so I'm glad we agree that the umpires got it wrong— Frank Twill (@frank_twill) December 26, 2019
And Warnie jumping in with his thoughts. Thanks Warnie. There are a couple of umpires on the field. Best if Smith lets them do their job. All this head shaking and gesturing isn't helping. We haven't forgiven you yet Steve. Just stick to batting.— RC77 (@rajchandramouli) December 26, 2019