Australian batsman Steve Smith says he’s “shocked and disappointed” by the reaction to his shadow batting during the final day of the Third Test against India.
Smith was spotted on cameras shadow batting during the India batting innings, leading to accusations he was cheating by scuffing up markings on the crease used as a guide by the batting side.
It was an eventful Test for Smith, who infamously was part of the 2018 Sandpaper-gate controversy, having made a first innings century which ended his 15-month wait for a Test hundred, before a second innings 81.
“I have been quite shocked and disappointed by the reaction to this,” Smith told the Daily Telegraph.
“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.”
The reaction to Smith came on a heated final day where the match ended as a draw and the Aussies turned to vicious sledging tactics, led by captain Tim Paine.
Australia’s frustration at not being able to take the required wickets appeared to boil over, although Paine has since contritely apologised.
Paine also explained Smith’s behaviour, when he said: “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.”
The Australia-India Test series will be decided when the Fourth Test begins in Brisbane on Friday, with the series locked at 1-1.