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Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne under fire for ugly on-field acts against Pakistan

Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne under fire for ugly on-field acts against Pakistan

Read Time:3 Minute, 52 Second

Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne have drawn criticism for distasteful patterns identified in their reactions to being dismissed.

The pair built a crucial 79-run partnership for Australia in the third Test against Pakistan at the SCG on Friday before both getting out within six balls of each other, without the score moving off 187.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne under fire for dismissal reactions.

Watch, Stream & Catch Up with Australia’s Home of Cricket on 7plus >>

Smith (38) was drawn beautifully by Pakistan into a trap when he was caught by one of the two short-covers waiting near the bat, condemning him to a fifth consecutive good start at the crease without going on to make a big score.

Furious with himself for throwing away another big innings, and for falling straight into the trap set by the visitors, Smith was reluctant to make the long trudge back to the dressing room.

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He took an extended moment to stay on the pitch while staring and pointing at the surface in bemusement, clearly frustrated with how the ball behaved after bouncing.

Smith eventually, albeit reluctantly, started his slow walk off, but turned back once more to take one last look at the surface, shaking his head in anger.

Labuschagne was then bowled just an over later by a classic right-arm off-spinner’s delivery through the gate between bat and pad.

Steve Smith was fuming but he had to go. Credit: Channel 7

It left him with a similarly bitter taste in his mouth to Smith’s, as he too resisted leaving the crease for an elongated moment.

“Hamza did his part and what we’ll see here is just look at the big puff of dust that comes out of the wicket. This is a sign of just how dry this pitch is,” Ricky Ponting said after Smith’s dismissal.

“There you can see it,” he added as a slow-mo replay of the delivery was played. “Big puff of black dirt breaking the surface. It is a big explosion in the surface.

“And then watch Smith’s reaction; Smith straight away looks down. Points at the wicket and puts his hands on his hips and can’t believe that this has just happened.

“He worked so hard for so long, 86 balls. He was out there just starting to get a bit more freedom and flow to his batting, and he gets one like that.”

The pair’s reactions, which their critics say are not exclusive to this Test, have been slammed as violating the unwritten rule that batters must get off the field immediately after being dismissed.

SEN cricket commentator Adam White said it “isn’t a good look”.

“Smith and particularly Labuschagne must be better at getting off the field quickly after being dismissed,” he said.

“Bowlers are allowed to bowl good balls or set good fields that get you out. Standing there in disbelief like ‘how could you possibly get me out’ isn’t a good look.”

MATCH CENTRE: All the stats, scorecards, and ball-by-ball commentary.

Cricbuzz writer and fellow SEN commentator Bharat Sundaresan noticed it as well.

“Steve Smith threw his head back with the shot,” Sundaresan said after Smith’s dismissal.

“That’s the third or fourth time since the WTC final he’s got out to a shot that he’s looked disgusted with the moment he’s played it.”

It wasn’t just cricket’s commentators that noticed it either.

Marnus Labuschagne was stunned. Credit: Channel 7

James Stedman, a fan, said: “Steve Smith losing respect when he continues to carry on when he gets out. You fell for the trap, mate, don’t blame the turf.”

Another fan was “gobsmacked that Steve Smith just got out to that very trap that was set for him, then blamed the pitch?!? The ball did minimal off the wicket”.

A third noted that the trials and tribulations of the SCG wicket were nothing as compared to those of the one on which South Africa and India played in Cape Town over the past couple of days, which saw 33 wickets fall in just over one day’s play, making it the shortest Test match in the game’s history.

“If Steve Smith wants to complain about the pitch for his dismissal he didn’t watch what occurred at Newlands over the past two nights,” they said.

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