'Not impressed': Steve Smith called out for 'ridiculous' Ashes act

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·Sports Reporter
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Steve Smith was told off by the umpire for making an overly hasty exit from the SCG after only a slight sprinkle of rain. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Steve Smith was told off by the umpire for making an overly hasty exit from the SCG after only a slight sprinkle of rain. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Umpire Paul Reiffel chided Australian batsman Steve Smith early on day two of the fourth Ashes Test, after the vice-captain pre-emptively dashed for the sheds after a hint of rain at the SCG.

Smith made a beeline for the pavilion after a small sprinkling of rain, drawing the ire of the England fielders before he was told off by umpire Reiffel.

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By the time he was called back, as the brief shower quickly crossed the SCG before the hessian pitch covers have been fully unrolled, Smith had already made his way up the stairs and to the door of the Australian dressing room.

By comparison, his batting partner at the time, Usman Khawaja, was barely at the fence.

Reiffel gave Smith a piece of his mind after his hasty return to the pitch as the weather cleared.

“You can‘t just keep running on and off," he warned the Australian vice-captain.

Several English fielders appeared to make a similar point.

There were snippets of his exaggerated movements and mannerisms at the crease, but it was the 32-year-old's obvious desire to get off the field in light rain that got tongues wagging.

Former England captains Michael Vaughan and Mike Atherton were both critical of Smith, saying he should have waited for the umpires' decision before making a beeline for the boundary.

"I've not been that impressed with Steve Smith's attempts to run the game," Atherton said on SEN.

Mark Waugh was bemused by Smith's eagerness to get off the field while on commentary for Fox Cricket.

“If you’re a batsman you’d be happy to stay out there," he said.

“The ball can get a little bit damp, it might get a bit softer. You get into a better rhythm for a starter. He’s got plenty of bats, he doesn’t have to worry about the bat getting damp ... it looks like he’s in the middle of a snow storm.

“There‘s not even enough rain to wet the roses. It’s ridiculous.”

Usman Khawaja smacks century in Test cricket return

Joe Root cycled through Plans A, B and C in his attempt to remove Smith, who faced 141 balls on a pitch that every batter has struggled to score freely on.

Left-arm spin, once regarded as Smith's weakness because of his struggles against Sri Lanka's Rangana Herath and Indian Ravindra Jadeja on the subcontinent, did not work.

Jack Leach did not leak as many runs as his expensive start to the series in Brisbane, but the set batter always looked a class above.

A bouncer barrage from Ben Stokes late in the morning session got Smith out of his comfort zone and into awkward positions, but failed to conjure a breakthrough.

But Broad's seam movement broke Smith and Usman Khawaja's 115-run stand as they threatened to bat their side into a position of extreme dominance.

Khawaja, playing his first Test since being axed during the 2019 Ashes, is 102 not out after helping his side seize control at the SCG.

Usman Khawaja hit a first-innings century to put Australia in commanding position\ in his Test return. (Photo by DAVID GRAY/AFP via Getty Images)
Usman Khawaja hit a first-innings century to put Australia in commanding position\ in his Test return. (Photo by DAVID GRAY/AFP via Getty Images)

The veteran offered a chance off the bowling of Jack Leach on 28, which Root put down at first slip to continue a miserable series as England captain.

The left-hander reached three figures in the final over before tea on Thursday, clipping a delivery from Leach.

Khawaja leapt with joy after running three, acknowledging his family in the crowd then hugging Pat Cummins.

Queensland's captain had every reason to fear his international career was over, but Travis Head's positive COVID-19 test delivered a chance to show he still belongs.

Khawaja took full advantage, while England's woes went from bad to worse after Ben Stokes suffered a side injury while bowling.

With AAP

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