Indian batsman Rohit Sharma has made light of the Steve Smith shadow-batting controversy on day four of the decisive fourth Test at the Gabba.
With the Border-Gavaskar trophy on the line and an injury-riddled Indian team out to prevent Australia from extending their lead in the second innings, a drinks break gave Sharma an opportunity to reacquaint himself with the pitch.
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The Indian opener took the opportunity during a break in play to shadow-bat a few shots with Smith watching on - a near identical act to the one that saw the former Australian captain labelled a ‘cheat’ during the SCG Test last week.
Smith seemed completely unperturbed by Sharma’s act, with play continuing as normal afterwards.
But the brief few seconds Sharma spent at the crease didn’t go unnoticed, with many pointing out how over-the-top it was to accuse Smith of cheating simply for standing at the crease.
Interested onlooker, to say the least... pic.twitter.com/3KMroj93bs
— Brett McKay (@BMcSport) January 18, 2021
“It‘s very important for all those who thought Steve Smith was tampering the pitch and he had some kind of malicious intent, Rohit Sharma has done the exact same thing as Steve Smith did,” Indian broadcaster Sanjay Manjrekar said.
Smith was labelled a ‘cheat’ by former England player Darren Gough, prompting Australian coach Justin Langer to rubbish the commentary surrounding his star batsman.
Justin Langer rips into Steve Smith critics
The former Australian batsman labelled reports that Smith had somehow broken the rules as ‘rubbish’.
“As for Steve Smith. I can literally not believe some of the rubbish I’ve read about Steve Smith. Absolute load of rubbish,”Justin Langer said prior to the fourth Test.
“If anyone who knows Steve Smith, he’s a bit quirky and he does some weird (stuff). We’ve all laughed about it… it’s what Steve Smith does at the crease.
“He does it most games, he’s thinking about batting.
“Anyone who suggests for one millisecond he was doing anything untoward. They are way out of line. Absolutely out of line.
“That wicket was that flat and it was like concrete. You need 15 inch spikes to make an indent on the crease.
“Seriously, I thought that was absolutely ludicrous. In the last couple of years since he’s been back, he’s been exemplary on and off the field.
“He has let his bat do the talking, he was abused like anything I’ve never seen in England, but he kept smiling and let his bat do the talking.”
Australia hold a 182-run lead at lunch on day four of the series-deciding fourth Test against at the Gabba, having reached 4-149 after yet another fierce fightback from India.
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