Aussie cricket greats call out Steve Smith over ugly act in Test

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Steve Smith was filthy with Usman Khawaja after a calamitous run out against Sri Lanka in the first Test. Pic: Fox Sports/Getty
Steve Smith was filthy with Usman Khawaja after a calamitous run out against Sri Lanka in the first Test. Pic: Fox Sports/Getty

Steve Smith has been scolded by a pair of former Australian Test captains after an unsavoury incident in his side's victory against Sri Lanka in the first Test.

The Aussies eased to a crushing 10-wicket victory on day three of the first Test in Galle after spinners Nathan Lyon and makeshift tweaker Travis Head ripped through Sri Lanka's batting attack.

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Despite the resounding nature of the win, Smith found himself at the centre of one of the biggest talking points on the opening day of the Test.

The Aussie batter was left absolutely filthy with Usman Khawaja late on day one after a calamitous mix-up saw the former skipper run out.

Smith was on six when he was struck on the pads and the ball rebounded to the vacant off side.

After initially calling 'no', the former Aussie captain gestured for Khawaja to come through for a single, to which Khawaja appeared to call 'yes'.

However, Smith was left high and dry when Khawaja changed his mind and sent him back, with the star batter run out after being left stranded well short of the crease.

After a desperate dive in an attempt to make his ground, Smith sprang to his feet and immediately gesticulated with his batting partner.

A clearly furious Smith was seen raising his arms to Khawaja before shaking his head furiously as he made his way off the ground.

Smith was condemned by viewers after the incident, with former Australia Test captains Mark Taylor and Ian Chappell both weighing in on the drama after the match.

Test greats criticise Steve Smith reaction

“I think that was the only disappointing thing for me in what was a really good performance from the Aussies,” Taylor said on Channel Nine's Sports Sunday.

“It’s a real mix-up and I think they’re both responsible. I’ve watched this a number of times, Smith first said no, then yes, Khawaja sort of went a bit and then stopped.

“Obviously when you get run out you’re disappointed and you’re going to see a reaction and you expect that from anyone at any time, but I think Steve went too long with it.

“Show your disappointment and then get off. I was always told as a young cricketer there’s only one thing you can do when you get out, and that’s get off, because the longer you dwell out there, people like us start writing stories and making up what may or may not have happened.

“Just get off the ground, particularly when you’re the vice-captain and the former captain of the side, you’ve got to be better than that. Just get off the ground and say, ‘OK, I’m disappointed but I’m now out’, and leave it to Khawaja to get on and make a score.”

Steve Smith has been criticised for his reaction to the run out against Sri Lanka. Pic: Getty
Steve Smith has been criticised for his reaction to the run out against Sri Lanka. Pic: Getty

Steve Smith lets emotions get the better of him

Chappell said Smith should have known better as a former captain of the national side, insisting that such a public lashing of his teammate should never have occurred.

“You’ve got to look at it from the point of view of Smith being a former captain, and I don’t think he should be showing his emotions like that,” Chappell told Wide World of Sports.

“You can do it behind closed doors, but on the field he shouldn’t be doing it.

“In a sense I’m not surprised, because Smith doesn’t keep his emotions to himself, which is just the way he is, he’s known nothing but cricket really in his upbringing, which is not a good thing.

“A captain, or vice-captain has to keep his emotions even.”

Smith has not hit a century since the Test series against India in 2021, with Taylor conceding that his desperation to get the monkey off his back, no doubt contributed to his explosive reaction to being run out.

“I think he’s so focused on making runs and in the last couple of years after a brilliant comeback after the sandpaper issues... since then he’s actually struggled a little bit, he’s only averaging 40,” Taylor added.

“Now 40 is still very good, but it’s not Steve Smith-esque, it’s not 60 like we’re used to seeing.”

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