'Does it a lot': Tim Paine hits back at Steve Smith 'cheating' claims

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Tim Paine and Steve Smith, pictured here in action for Australia against India.
Tim Paine has defended Steve Smith's actions on day five at the SCG. Image: Getty/Willow TV

Tim Paine has defended Steve Smith over his controversial actions on day five at the SCG, saying he was simply shadow batting and “does it a lot”.

Smith sparked controversy on Monday during the final day of the third Test when he was seen rubbing out the guard marks with his foot that Rishabh Pant had made on the crease.

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Stump cameras showed Smith pretending to face up to a delivery before scuffing his foot across the crease a number of times.

Pant was then forced to mark his guard again.

A number of cricket greats have hit out at Smith over the seemingly petty act, with former England bowler Darren Gough labelling it “plain cheating”.

However Aussie captain Paine has since defended his teammate, saying Smith does it all the time while shadow batting.

“I have spoken to Steve about it,’’ Paine said on Tuesday. “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.

“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.

“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 to pitch the ball.”

Steve Smith, pictured here during the third Test between Australian and India at the SCG.
Steve Smith looks on during the third Test between Australian and India at the SCG. (Photo by Jason McCawley - CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

Cricket world erupts over Steve Smith footage

Gough was among a number of former players to hit out at the footage of Smith.

“You’ve got Steve Smith, who showed us all these tears and sorrow just a few years ago when he got done for sandpaper on the ball,” Gough said on talkSPORT radio.

“Well now during a break in play between overs he’s dancing around and scuffing up the pitch and rubbing out the marks with his spikes, the batsman’s marker.

“That was totally out of order.

“People say he’s done nothing wrong - well he has! He’s going onto the pitch ... and rubbing out the markers the batsman has put on to (signal) where he puts his bat.

“It’s plain cheating in my book.”

Former England captain Michael Vaughan labelled Smith’s actions “very very poor”, while Indian great Virender Sehwag tweeted: “Tried all the tricks including Steve Smith trying to remove Pant’s guard marks from the crease.”

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Former England player David Lloyd wrote: “Unreal isn’t it? Ridiculous behaviour”, while Aussie icon Brad Hogg wrote: “Batsman’s area. Not his space to mark!”

Journalist Paul Hayward added: “It’s the cheapness of it that’s so hard to grasp. People have compared you to Bradman, you’ve been banned in a massive sandpapering scandal, but you see a batting mark and think … I’m going to scrub that out. So odd.”

However former player Fabian Cowdrey defended Smith, believing he wasn’t attempting to cheat.

“Steve Smith was just in his own world, much like the way he goes about his own batting,” Cowdrey wrote.

“I don’t believe he has attempted to cheat in any way here.”

Journalist Simon Hughes added: “I have looked at the footage and I really don’t think Smith was trying to cheat. He is — truly — an honest bloke.

“I have never heard of anyone trying to scrub out someone else’s guard, he was more subconsciously remarking his own as he does every new session.”

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