Australia batsman Steve Smith is extremely disappointed and shocked on being accused of cheating after a video footage of him scrubbing the crease on Day 5 of the SCG Test went viral on social media.
Smith was seen scrubbing the crease in the stump cam during the break when Rishabh Pant and Cheteshwar Pujara were batting. Australia were desperate for a wicket as Pant was taking on the bowlers in quest of the target of 407.
Several former cricketers, including Virender Sehwag, lashed out on Smith after the video went viral on social media.
After coming back from the break, Pant had to remark his guard. He went on to make 97 off just 118 deliveries, Pujara also made 77, whereas R Ashwin and Hanuma Vihari remained unbeaten of 39 and 23 respectively to take India to a draw.
“It’s something I do in games to visualise where we are bowling, how the batter is playing our bowlers and then out of habit I always mark centre,” Smith told News Corp while adding he was “shocked and disappointed”.
“It’s such a shame that this and other events have taken away from what was a great batting performance by India yesterday.”
Skipper Tim Paine also defended Smith saying that he was just shadow-batting and that’s something he is seen doing regularly in almost all matches.
“If you’ve watched Steve Smith play Test cricket, that’s something that he does every single game five or six times a day,” Paine told reporters while apologising for his conduct on Monday.
“He’s always standing in the batting crease shadow batting. As we know, he’s got those many Steve Smith quirks and one of those is he’s always marking centre. He was certainly not changing (Pant’s) guard and if he was that’s something that the Indians would have kicked up a bit stink about at the time.”
The series is now level on 1-1 and it looks all set for a thrilling finale as the final Test match kicks off at Brisbane on January 15.