'He wasn't scuffing Pant's guard', Tim Paine defends Smith
Australian captain Tim Paine defended the actions of Steve Smith after the SCG Test ended in a draw. The Indians stole a historic draw on Day 5 as Hanuma Vihari and Ravichandran Ashwin batted out over three hours to deny the hosts victory. The Australians were visibly frustrated, which also resulted in obnoxious "sledging". Meanwhile, Smith landed in a fresh controversy during the game.
Why did the controversy erupt?
The likes of Rishabh Pant and Cheteshwar Pujara brought back India in the hunt on the final day with respective knocks. After their departure, Vihari and Ashwin did the job for India. However, in a footage that surfaced on social media after the game, Smith was caught scuffing Rishabh Pant's crease mark. While doing so, Smith was also found to have done shadow batting.
The experts took a dig at Smith
The actions of Smith didn't go down well with the Indian fans and experts, who came down hard on him. Former players Virender Sehwag and Michael Vaughan were among the ones to slam Smith on Twitter. Notably, Australia's premier batsman isn't new to controversies. He has been involved in the infamous "Sandpaper Gate" and "brain-fade" moment in past.
Sehwag shared the video on Twitter
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.— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) January 11, 2021
But I am so so proud of the effort of the Indian team today. Seena chonda ho gaya yaar. pic.twitter.com/IfttxRXHeM
'He just loves shadow batting' Paine on Smith
As the matter came to light, Australian captain, Paine, defended Smith, stating he bore no malice. "That's something Steve's done a lot. 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," Paine said during a virtual press conference.
'Smith wasn't trying to change Pant's guard'
"There's no way in the world he was trying to change Pant's guard. It's just one of Smithy's things that he does. Now that it's come up, it's something he might have to look at because of the perception of it," added Paine.
Border-Gavaskar series squared at 1-1 with one Test to go
India made a terrific comeback on Day 5 of the SCG Test after they were given a target of 407. A majestic 97 by Pant turned the fortunes of Team India early in the day, while Vihari (23*) and Ashwin (39*) endured the final few hours to ensure India a safe passage. Now, the series-decider will be played in Brisbane from January 15.