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Australia v India

‘He was only shadow batting’ – Paine defends Smith over ‘scuffing’ criticism

by Wisden Staff 2-minute read

Australia skipper Tim Paine defended Steve Smith’s actions after the Australian batsman was involved in a controversial on-field incident on day five of the third Test against India in Sydney.

Smith was caught on stump camera seemingly scuffing the crease during the drinks break, copping severe criticism on social media for the incident.

Paine, however, extended his full support to Smith, calling it as a routine and a regular practice for Australia’s premier Test batsman.

“I have spoken to Steve about it,’’ Paine told reporters on Tuesday, January 12. “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.”

Paine further added that Smith had no intentions of changing Rishabh Pant’s guard, stating that the Indian players would’ve reacted to the incident had that been the case.

“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.”

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