India started off Day 5 of the third Test against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) with the aim to eke out a draw on Monday. But Rishabh Pant’s swashbuckling knock of 97 changed the tide briefly towards India and raised the hopes of an unlikely win which prompted Australia and Steve Smith to undertake some questionable tactics.
Pant’s aggressive show hit Australian off-spinner Nathan Lyon off his length on a wearing final day SCG pitch and formed Australian captain Tim Paine on the defensive.
After drinks break Aussie comes to shadow bat and scuffs out the batsmen's guard marks.
— Cricket Badger (@cricket_badger) January 11, 2021
After the drinks break before lunch on the final day, just before play resumed, the stumps cam caught an Australian player shadow bat on the pitch and before leaving, he scruffs up the batsman’s mark. Pant then walks in and can be seen asking for the guard again.
The player in the video, with jersey number 49, is none other than former captain Steve Smith. And while calling this incident an ‘under-hand’ tactic might be a stretch, but surely brings up the question of gamesmanship and the spirit of the game, and also may come under the ambit of the fielder damaging the pitch in the ICC Playing Conditions for World Test Championship (WTC).