'Shocked' Steve Smith denies scuffing Pant's guard mark

Tim Paine

Tim Paine

"I always talk to our players about playing this game on skill and not on emotion and yesterday I fell short of my own standards and expectations." said Paine.

"Today morning the way Rishabh Pant played, it made everybody hopeful of something that was fantastic that could have been achieved but nevertheless I feel Rishabh and Pujara laid the foundation for us to see through the last two-and-a-half-hour", he added. As we know he has those many Steve Smith quirks. They batted for 131 overs on a pitch that appeared to be slowing down.

"That was totally out of order". The general consensus was that not only was Ashwin a victor with the way he batted with Vihari, but he also put Paine in his place with his witty reply.

"I can recall doing similar things myself when I was captain and [Shane] Warney was bowling", Taylor said.

Yesterday, Steve Smith was all over social media as a video of him removing Rishabh Pant's batting guard went viral. Meanwhile, David Lloyd, who played and coached England before becoming a television commentator, wrote: "How childish".

Ex-Australian spinner and World Cup victor Brad Hogg added: "Batsman's area".

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Fellow sports journalist Paul Hayward chimed in, writing: "It's the cheapness of it that's so hard to grasp". It was something that you can only dream of, batting on day five. "I think there's a few conspiracy theories going on out there".

"It was unbefitting of a captain of a national team to be talking about something other than cricket", he said.

Hogg replied to the tweet, saying: "Batsmans area".

Paine said it was just part of Smith's regular routine.

Paine, who's come under heavy criticism from Australian fans for his poor captaincy in the series, made a decision to launch a tirade against Ashwin when the latter was batting at 33. "And, one of his mannerisms - he does it a lot - was marking centre, he wasn't by any stretch of the imagination trying to change guard or do anything like that", he added.

India's injury woes in the Test series against Australia compounded on Monday after the hero of their drawn game in Sydney, Hanuma Vihari, was ruled out of the fourth and final match with a hamstring tear that could keep him out of action for a considerable time.

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"He was certainly not changing guard".

"Steve's quite upset about it", Paine said of the reaction.

Former players Virender Sehwag and Michael Vaughan were among the ones to slam Smith on Twitter.

Smith, though, told News Corb that the situation was blown out of proportion and that he was by no means trying to cheat.

One former worldwide teammate close to Smith believes he was too traumatised by the ball-tampering episode and his 12 months out of the global game to consider deploying underhand tactics. He scored six runs off 100 balls and fans spoke about how despite the injury he is still at the crease.

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