The last day of a dramatic third test at Sydney Cricket Ground was thrilling. Rishabh Pant was playing a blazing round and put India on track for an unlikely victory. Cheteshwar Pujara brilliantly blocked the Australian bowlers. At the other end, Australia was getting desperate. In a moment that created huge controversy, Steve Smith was filmed trying to rub the batting marks created by Rishabh Pant at the crease. The move saw social media label Steve Smith as a cheat and many other analysts, especially from England, said Steve Smith cheated again. However, the charges against Steve Smith were not true and on Wednesday he sought to clarify the matter.
“I was pretty shocked and disappointed with the reaction to that. It’s something I do in games to visualize where we bowling, how the batter is playing our bowlers and out of habit I always score the center,” Steve Smith said in an interaction with the Daily Telegraph. Steve Smith had previously found support from Australian skipper Tim Paine who said this was one of Steve Smith’s unusual quirks. Smith loves the stick and sometimes he does things like that which are different from others. Steve Smith returned to form in the Sydney Test with a brilliant 131 and 81 and was named player of the match.
Speaking about the incident, Paine said, “He’s really disappointed with the way he appeared. If you watch Steve Smith play Test Cricket, that’s something he does every game five or six times a day. He does it a lot. He’s still in the batting zone. As we know he has these many Steve Smith quirks. One of them is that he always marked the center. He certainly did not change the guard (Pant’s). I imagine if he was the Indian players I was a bit smelly back then. I’ve seen Steve do this a number of times in tests and games I’ve played against him. He likes to visualize how he is going to play. Yesterday you could see him playing punches as a southpaw where he wanted Lyono to throw the ball, ”Paine said.
Sydney Stormy Test
The Sydney Test once again sparked controversy in the India v Australia game. In the shadow of the grim tour of 2008, an incident of racism once again marred the match and this time the victims were Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah. Immediately, Siraj went to the referee on the pitch and signaled the action as the disbelievers were kicked out of the stadium.
As the game progressed, Tim Paine and Ravichandran Ashwin were embroiled in a bitter war of words with Tim Paine, apparently stuffing the drummer on their indecision to make it to Brisbane. The exchange didn’t go well with a lot of people and the Australian cricket team skipper apologized in an impromptu press conference.