Australia batsman Steve Smith has denied accusations of scuffing the crease on the final day’s play against India on Monday.
Smith was seen dragging his feet across the crease during a drinks break, which promoted a social-media storm in the cricketing world.
The right-hander has since been accused of trying to damage the area Rishabh Pant had been batting in, with many former international cricketers weighing in on the situation.
Smith, though, told News Corb that the situation was blown out of proportion and that he was by no means trying to cheat.
‘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,’ he said.
Australia skipper Tim Paine also defended Smith’s actions in a media conference on Tuesday, saying the incident was unintentional.
‘If you’ve watched Steve Smith play Test cricket, that’s something that he does every single game five or six times a day. He’s always standing in the batting crease shadow batting. As we know, he’s got those many Steve Smith quirks and one of those is he’s always marking centre.
‘He was certainly not changing [Pant’s] guard and, if he was, that’s something that the Indians would have kicked up a bit stink about at the time.’
Australia and India head to Brisbane this week where the fourth and final Test will get under way at the Gabba on Thursday. The series is currently level at 1-1.