Cricket fans turn on Steve Smith after ugly moment in second T20

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·Sports Editor
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Steve Smith, pictured here being dismissed for five in the second T20 against Sri Lanka.
Steve Smith was dismissed for five in the second T20 against Sri Lanka. Image: Fox Sports/Getty

Steve Smith's place in Australia's T20 side is under fresh scrutiny after he lasted just four balls in the second game against Sri Lanka.

The former Aussie captain has struggled for runs in the T20 format, with many calling for Smith to make way and focus on Tests and ODIs.

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And those calls will only grow louder after he made just five on Wednesday night in the second T20.

Smith was trapped lbw by Nuwan Thushara and an unsuccessful DRS review sent him packing.

The 33-year-old hasn't scored a 50 in a T20 international since 2019, averaging just 23 last year.

His inclusion in the first two games of the series came at the expense of Western Australia's Josh Inglis, who averages 35.8 after six T20Is and is yet to post a score under 20.

Speaking before the series, captain Aaron Finch defended Smith's selection.

Sri Lankan players, pictured here celebrating after taking the wicket Steve Smith in the second T20.
Sri Lankan players celebrate after taking the wicket Steve Smith in the second T20. (Photo by Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images)

"The ability to free (Smith) up and play his natural game and play the game in front of him is so important," Finch said.

"He's someone who can read the game as well as anyone, so it's about giving him the freedom to take the game on.

"We've got all the confidence that he can play that role unbelievably well."

But after Wednesday night's failure there are renewed calls for Smith to make way.

Matthew Wade guides Aussies to series victory

Australia survived an electric spell from all-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga to edge Sri Lanka by three wickets and wrap up the three-match series.

Veteran wicketkeeper Matthew Wade (26 not out) handled the immense pressure of batting with the tail to secure victory with 13 balls to spare in Colombo as the visitors took an unassailable 2-0 lead.

The reigning T20 world champions have now won 12 of their last 14 games in the format, a dramatic turnaround after losing eight of 10 matches during tours of the West Indies and Bangladesh last year.

Chasing the hosts' mediocre total of 9-124, openers Aaron Finch and David Warner came out intent on powering Australia to victory as quickly as possible.

Only a night earlier, the same pair blasted Australia to a 10-wicket win when they passed Sri Lanka's score of 128 with six overs to spare.

But the hosts showed far more fight in the second match as Hasaranga weaved some magic with Australia collapsing to 7-99.

Matthew Wade and Jhye Richardson, pictured here after Australia's win over Sri Lanka in the second T20.
Matthew Wade and Jhye Richardson celebrate Australia's win over Sri Lanka in the second T20. (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP via Getty Images)

The leg-spinner took figures of 4-33, and almost secured a hat-trick after removing Glenn Maxwell and Ashton Agar in consecutive balls.

But Wade was able to steady the innings as he received solid support from fast bowler Jhye Richardson.

Paceman Kane Richardson starred with career-best T20I figures of 4-30, taking three wickets in the final over.

"It's frantic cricket at the moment," Richardson said.

"The last two games have been really random and frantic, but we've managed to stay calm; it probably didn't look that way with the bat.

"I think it's just the product of this environment at the moment and the opposition are just really up and about to win."

Saturday's third and final match in Kandy will be a dead-rubber ahead of a five-match ODI series, starting on June 14.

with AAP

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