UPDATED: January 18, 2021 08:05 IST
Steve Smith created a stir and he was slammed by fans and former cricketers when he was seen scruffing the pitch at the striker’s end during the 3rd Test in Sydney. Smith was accused of gamesmanship and was even called a cheater as he was seemingly re-marking Rishabh Pant’s guard on Day 5 of India’s fighting draw at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Cut to the 4th Test, India’s vice-captain Rohit Sharma was seen doing something similar. Rohit was seen shadow batting at the striker’s end during the drinks break in the morning session of Day 4 of the 4th Test at the Gabba in Brisbane.
Rohit Sharma went up to the batting crease and started shadow batting. Incidentally, Steve Smith was in the middle and having a close watch at what the India star was doing at the striker’s end.
Former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar, who was on air for Sony Sports, pointed out that Rohit was shadow batting just like what Smith had done but that it was unfortunate to see the Australia star facing the flak for his act in Sydney.
Steve Smith had rubbished allegations of cheating, saying he has the habit of shadow batting and what he did in Sydney was nothing more than that. Smith was slammed for scruffing the pitch as Australia were struggling to break a fledging stand between Pant and Cheteshwar Pujara on Day 5 of the drawn Sydney Test.
“It’s something I do in games to visualise where we are bowling, how the batter is playing our bowlers, and then out of habit I always mark centre. It’s such a shame that this and other events have taken away from what was a great batting performance by India yesterday,” Smith had said.
Australia head coach Justin Langer had also hit out at Smith critics, saying he had never heard “so mcuh rubbish” in his life.
“We’ve laughed about how all he thinks about is batting. He was just standing there, thinking about batting. He is 100 percent innocent in this. Give me a break, I’ve never heard so much rubbish in my life.”
On Monday, Rohit Sharma was in fine catching form on Monday as the vice-captain took a stunner at slip to dismiss Marnus Labuschagne who was looking to go big. Mohammed Siraj brought India right back into the contest with 2 wickets in the same over. It was Shardul Thakur who broke open Australia’s 89-run opening stand on Day 4 by removing Marcus Harris. Washington Sundar was impressive yet again as he removed the dangerous David Warner for 48. Australia reached 149 for 4 at Lunch on Monday, stretching their lead to 182.