Australian captain Tim Paine has played down claims that Steve Smith was trying to scuff up the marks on the batting crease during the India innings at the Sydney Test on the final day, saying that he was just shadow batting and that it is one of the various mannerisms of his.
Smith was seen on the stump camera walking on to the pitch and shadow batting before seemingly scuffing up the marks on the crease batsmen use as a guide for where the stumps are behind them.
India’s Cheteshwar Pujara and Rishabh Pant were batting at the time, meaning the latter had to take guard once again, with the strange move by Smith serving no other purpose than wasting a few seconds of India’s time.
Paine has backed his batsman, claiming that it was just something he does when shadow batting and insisted if you went through all of the footage of his Test matches you’d see that him rubbing out others’ mark was a regular occurrence.
He added that Smith was upset with how his actions have been viewed across the world and that it was not at all his intention.
“I have spoken to Steve about it,’’ Paine told reporters on Tuesday. “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 really disappointed with the way it has come across
Australia captain Tim Paine says Steve Smith was not trying to change Rishabh Pant's guard during the Sydney Test #AUSvIND
— Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket) January 12, 2021
“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.”
India went on to draw the Test match in fascinating fashion to keep the series locked at 1-1 with the final game in Brisbane set to begin on 15 January.
(With various inputs)
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