Steve Smith had a reasonable time in the opening day of the Boxing Day Test against New Zealand at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). While some of the other Australian batsmen got out after getting starts, Smith showed grit and temperament to end the day on 77 off 192 balls with the help of eight fours and one six. The hosts will need Smith to continue even on the second day.
Amidst his determined show at the MCG, Smith got himself tangled in a mini-controversy. The incident took place in the last over of the pre-lunch session with Australia’s score at 67 for the loss of two wickets. He had a heated argument with on-field umpire Nigel Llong. After tangling Smith with the Bodyline approach in the Day-Night Perth Test, the Black Caps came up with the same tactic.
Neil Wagner peppered him with a barrage of bouncers when he came to bat after the dismissal of David Warner. Things turned a tad ugly when Wagner hit Smith with a couple of short pitched deliveries. The batter responded by not offering shots to the bumpers. In one of the deliveries, Wagner hit Smith below the ribs and the batsman tried to sneak in a single.
But Llong, who reckoned that Smith didn’t offer a shot, called it a dead-ball. The call irked Smith to some extent, who charged to the umpire for a clarification. Smith wasn’t ready to back off and he kept arguing. In the end, things came under control and play resumed.
Here is the clip of the controversial delivery
You make the call – should this be a dead ball? #AUSvNZ pic.twitter.com/CMp4Q9AHvW
— #7Cricket (@7Cricket) December 26, 2019
Here is the clip showing Steve Smith and Llong’s argument
Poor sportsmanship. But we’ve come to expect that from you Steve. Terrible example for kids. You are an embarrassment to the game. #NZvAUS #BoxingDayTest #MCG #stevesmith pic.twitter.com/xi0VqVjUF1
— Davidthompson420695000 (@Davidthompson42) December 26, 2019
Shane Warne, the former Australian cricketer, backed Smith though. “Well the umpire’s wrong. Steve Smith has every right to be angry because the interpretation Nigel Llong is giving at the minute is incorrect. I’m sure someone’s going to have a chat to Nigel Llong in the lunch break because Steve Smith’s livid and rightly so,” Warne said, speaking on Fox Sports.
Smith didn’t have the greatest of series versus Pakistan due to which Virat Kohli, the Indian skipper, replaced him as ICC’s number-one Test batsman. But to some, he has made amends in the ongoing Test and will now wish to score a century on the second day.
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