UPDATED: January 14, 2021 12:43 IST
Australia captain Tim Paine has backed star batsman Steve Smith to feed off the criticism and come out all guns blazing when his team takes on India in the fourth and final Test of the series in Brisbane from January 15.
Smith was accused of cheating and unsportsmanlike conduct by fans and cricket experts on Day 5 of the third Test when he was caught on stump camera scuffing out batsman Rishabh Pant’s guard at the crease.
Paine later defended Smith saying that he does that he has some weird quirks that he does in every match, like shadow batting at the crease while marking middle stump as his guard. Smith also clarified that he likes to mark centre and visualise where his bowlers are bowling.
Paine said Smith was really disappointed with the way his action has come across but also sounded a warning that the star batsman will feed off all this backlash that he has been receiving.
“Steve is in a good frame of mind. I think we’ve seen through what he’s been through in the last three years… he’s mentally very strong, very tough. He knows sometimes he’s going to be criticised and he’s handled that supremely well.
“If anything, I think he feeds off it. His statistics speak for themselves and we’ll see the best of Steve Smith again this week,” Paine said ahead of Friday’s Test match.
Smith was under fire for his poor form in the first two Test in which he managed a combined 10 runs. But he answered his critics in style by scoring 131 and 81 runs in both innings of the third Test in Sydney last week.
Smith’s knocks however, couldn’t take Australia over the line as India put up a brave performance on the final day to hold on for a draw at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
The four-match series, which is level at 1-1, now moves to the Gabba, where Australia haven’t lost a Test match since 1988.