Sydney [Australia], January 12 (ANI): Australia Test skipper Tim Paine on Tuesday rallied around Steve Smith, saying that that the batsman was shadow practicing and he was definitely not trying to change Rishabh Pant's guard on the final day of the Pink Test against India.
Smith was seen scuffing up the area around the batting crease on day five of the third Test between India and Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground and social media users started questioning the Australia batsman for his gamesmanship.
"I have spoken to Steve about it. 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 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," Paine said in a virtual press conference.
"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 Lyon to pitch the ball," he added.
Elaborating further on his point, Paine said: "Steve's quite upset about it. It's something we always have a laugh about because he just loves batting so much and even when he's out on the field he's shadow batting and marking centre. I'm sure if people are happy to look back at the footage you'll see it happens probably more than once a Test match with Steve."
"There's no way in the world he was trying to change Rishabh Pant's guard or anything like that. Now that it's come up as it has it's something he might have to look at because of the perception of it," he added.
During the first session of day five, the stump cams recorded members of the Australian side coming to the crease. Smith appeared to be using his feet to scuff the marks left by wicketkeeper-batsman Pant. It then forced the batsman to take his guard all over again, reported Fox Sports.
The Ajinkya Rahane-led team put up an inspired show against Australia in the third Test to eke out a draw. Ashwin and Hanuma Vihari batted out 258 balls to help India walk away with an epic draw against Australia and head into the final Test at the Gabba, with the series level at 1-1.
Batting out 2.5 hours with a fierce home team throwing everything it had up its sleeves is no mean feat. But the Indian duo of Vihari and R Ashwin stood ground and managed to do just that. Batting out 131 overs -- the most India have batted in the fourth innings of a Test since 1980 -- showed exactly what Ashwin meant when he spoke about playing like true warriors at the end of the fourth day's play at the SCG. (ANI)