Australian skipper Tim Paine claimed Steve Smith had no intention of scuffing Indian wicket-keeper-batsman Rishabh Pant's guard mark. The 36-year-old revealed that Smith was just practicing his shadow batting at the crease.
Steve Smith was caught on the stump camera trying to scuff the guard marked by Pant on Day 5 of the third Test. However, Tim Paine stated the 31-year-old was just marking the centre stump, something he does often.
Speaking in a post-match video-conference after the end of the SCG Test, Tim Paine stated he had a chat with Steve Smith about the same and the latter was disappointed with the way he was misunderstood.
“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," Tim Paine said.
“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," he further added.
"Steve Smith likes to visualise how he is going to play" - Tim Paine
Tim Paine believes the Indian team would have taken offence had they too believed Steve Smith scuffed the guard marks deliberately. Having played against the 31-year-old on a few occasions, the Aussie skipper claimed Smith likes to imagine himself how he is going to bat.
Tim Paine further stressed that Steve Smith took his stance as a left-hander, trying to make off-spinner Nathan Lyon understand where exactly to pitch the ball while bowling to Rishabh Pant.
“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 (Nathan Lyon) to pitch the ball,” Tim Paine asserted.
Battling hard for 131 overs in the fourth innings, Team India pulled off a miraculous draw against all odds. The Indian batsmen kept the Australian bowling attack at bay as the visitors lost just three wickets on Day 5.
While the draw will boost the spirits of the Indian team, the Aussies will rue the dropped catches which made them settle for a stalemate.
However, the fourth Test between the two sides is to be played at the Gabba in Brisbane from January 15. This will give the Aussies some much-needed confidence, as they haven't lost at the venue since 1988.
With Team India's injury woes piling up with each passing day, can Australia seal the series with a win in Brisbane? Only time will tell.Published 12 Jan 2021, 09:52 IST