Prolific Australia batsman Steve Smith faced criticism on social media after he was seen scuffing up the area around the batting crease while Rishabh Pant and Cheteshwar Pujara were batting in India's second innings on the fifth day of the third Test on Monday. The match was drawn, and the four-Test series is levelled 1-1.
During the morning session on Monday, the stump camera recorded members of the Australian team coming to the crease and 31-year-old Smith was seen using his feet to scuff the guard marks left by wicketkeeper-batsman Pant. After that, Pant took the guard afresh, and went on to score an 118-ball 97.
After drinks break Aussie comes to shadow bat and scuffs out the batsmen's guard marks.
Rishabh Pant then returns and has to take guard again.#AUSvIND #AUSvsIND #AUSvINDtest pic.twitter.com/aDkcGKgUJC
— Cricket Badger (@cricket_badger) January 11, 2021
Taking a note of this act, former India opener Virender Sehwag made a video post on his Instagram account and wrote: "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.
"But I am so, so proud of the effort of the Indian team today. Seena chonda ho gaya yaar," he added.
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.
But I am so so proud of the effort of the Indian team today. Seena chonda ho gaya yaar. pic.twitter.com/IfttxRXHeM
— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) January 11, 2021
Cricketer-turned-commentator Aakash Chopra tweeted: "Shoes can be used for many things. Removing an opponent's batting guard mark too... Not for taking sharp catches though."
Commentator Harsha Bhogle discussed the incident with Ajit Agarkar and Nick Knight during the lunch interval on Monday. While both players felt that the act wasn't deliberate, users on Twitter slammed Smith.
"Australia's Steve Smith shadow-batted as he came to the crease after the drinks break, and proceeded to remove Rishabh Pant's guard marks," tweeted one of the users along with the video of the act.
"Sandpaper in South Africa, scuffing pitch in Australia, what a player Steve Smith is. Performs everywhere," tweeted another.
This user was referring to Smith, who scored 131 and 81 in the third Test, was handed a one-year ban for his role in the Newlands Test match ball-tampering scandal. David Warner was also banned foe one year while Cameron Bancroft was banned for nine months.
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