Tim Paine defends Steve Smith after pitch incident in third Australia-India Test
Steve Smith did not deliberately scuff up the crease during the final day of the third Test against India on Monday, says Australia captain Tim Paine.
Former captain Smith was seen on the stump camera scraping the crease with his boot during a drinks break.
He was criticised on social media, with suggestions he was removing the India batsmen’s guard – the marks used to guide where they stand.
“He was certainly not changing a guard,” Paine said.
“I imagine if he was, the India players would have kicked up a bit of a stink at the time.
“As we know, he has those many Steve Smith quirks – one of those is he is always marking centre.”
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India batted out a tense final day to salvage a draw, ensuring the series remained level at 1-1 going into the final Test in Brisbane, which starts on Friday.
Smith, who was sacked as captain in 2018 following the ball-tampering scandal, was seen shadow batting and then scuffing the crease with his boots. When India batsman Rishabh Pant returned to the crease, he had to ask the umpire for his guard again.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan described the incident as “very, very poor”.
“He (Smith) is disappointed with the way it has come across,” Paine said.
“That is something he does every single game, five or six times per day. He likes to walk up to where he bats and visualise where he is going to play.
“Yesterday you could see him up there playing a couple shots as left-hander as if where he wanted Lyon (Australia spinner Nathan Lyon) to pitch the ball. It is one of his mannerisms.”