Former Australian captain Steve Smith sparked a massive controversy on Day 5 of the recently concluded India vs Australia 3rd Test in Sydney. The right-hander was accused of resorting to a cheap tactic in their quest to secure a win and take a 2-1 lead in the series. Smith was caught on stump camera while scratching up Indian wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant's guard during the drinks break in the first session.
Tried all tricks including Steve Smith trying to remove Pant's batting guard marks from the crease. Par kuch kaam na aaya. Khaaya peeya kuch nahi, glass toda barana.— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) January 11, 2021
But I am so so proud of the effort of the Indian team today. Seena chonda ho gaya yaar. pic.twitter.com/IfttxRXHeM
The Indian southpaw was taking Australian bowlers to the cleaners and was successfully able to pile the pressure back on them which is why the Australian tried to distract the Indian stumper. Pant had to mark his guard all over again after resuming batting post the drinks break. The video of the same went viral on social media in no time. Fans, as well as, former cricketers were left fuming after Smith used what is widely being considered as a cheap trick to put off Pant.
Now, Smith himself has opened up on the entire incident saying that was marking the centre as he always does. While speaking to News Corp on Tuesday, Smith said that he was shocked and disappointed by allegations made against him stating that he had tried to gain an unfair advantage.
Smith mentioned that marking the centre is something he does in games to visualize where the Australian bowlers are bowling, how the batsmen are playing their bowlers and then out of habit he always mark centre. Expressing regret over how the incident turned out to be, Smith said that it's a shame that this and other events have taken away from what was a great batting performance by India yesterday.
Earlier on Monday, Australian skipper Tim Paine had also defended Smith saying that the 31-year old meant nothing malicious to Pant by scraping Pant's guard. While speaking to ESPNCricinfo, Paine said that he spoke to Smith about the incident and added that he is extremely disappointed with how it has come across. Explaining Smith's actions, Paine reckoned that if you've watched Smith play Test cricket, that's something he does every single game, five or six times a day.
Paine further said that Smith is always standing in the batting crease, shadow batting. According to Paine, Smith has got numerous idiosyncrasies and one of them is always marking the centre. Pant assured that Smith was certainly not changing guard and added that if he was then the Indian players would have complained about the same at the time.
The Australian captain opined that when Smith is in the field, he likes to walk up to where he bats and visualize how he's going to play. Paine stated that a day ago, you could see Smith up there, playing a couple of shots as a left-hander to show Nathan Lyon to where to pitch the ball. Paine reiterated that one of his mannerisms is marking the centre which he does a lot.
He reassured that Smith wasn't by any stretch of the imagination trying to change guard or do anything like that. Paine also said that if people look back at the footage they'll see it happens probably more than once a Test match with him. However, Pant acknowledged that now that there has been a fuss about it, it's something Smith might have to look at because of the perception of it.
The third Test ending in a draw means that the series is still poised at 1-1 with the fourth and final Test to be played at the Gabba in Brisbane from January 15-19. For India vs Australia 4th Test 2021 live telecast in India, fans can tune into the Sony Pictures Sports Network (SONY TEN 1, SONY TEN 3 and SONY SIX) at 5:30 AM (IST) on Friday, January 15. For India vs Australia live scores, one can visit the official website and social media pages of the BCCI and Cricket Australia. The live streaming of India vs Australia 4th Test will be available for fans on the SonyLIV app.
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