Fair or foul? Gamesmanship or unsportsmanlike conduct? Steve Smith found himself in the spotlight after his actions on the final day of the third Test between Australia and India in Sydney.

Smith was at his best with the bat in the match, making scores of 131 and 81 as he returned to form in style after a recent lean spell.

However, it may well be his footwork during Monday's final day will overshadow what he achieved during the rest of the Test.

With India battling to save the game, stump camera footage seen on social media showed Smith standing at the crease during a break in proceedings, the Australian shaping up as if he was batting, including marking a guard.

His actions at the crease forced India's Rishabh Pant to retake his own guard before play resumed, with the moment becoming a hot topic on Twitter.

"Tried all tricks including Steve Smith trying to remove Pant's batting guard marks from the crease," former India batsman Virender Sehwag wrote to accompany the footage that was seen on the international feed of the broadcast.

Retweeting Sehwag's post, ex-England captain Michael Vaughan added: "This is very very poor from Steve Smith!!". Meanwhile, David Lloyd, who played and coached England before becoming a television commentator, wrote: "How childish".

Pant did not seem too perturbed by what happened, however, going on to make 97 as India impressively secured a draw.

Smith was sacked as Australia captain following the ball-tampering scandal during the tour of South Africa in 2018. Along with team-mate David Warner, he was banned for 12 months from international and domestic cricket for his involvement in the incident.

Cameron Bancroft, who was the player caught by television cameras appearing to use sandpaper to alter the condition of the ball during the third Test against the Proteas at Newlands, was handed a nine-month suspension.

Tim Paine, who took over as skipper of the Test side, was also trending on social media after a verbal exchange with India's Ravichandran Ashwin during the final session of play at the SCG.

Ashwin pulled away before a delivery as he and Paine shared words, their conversation picked up by the stump microphone.

England paceman Stuart Broad pointed out on Twitter that such situations are "part of the game" during a Test match, though did suggest Paine's use of an expletive could land him in trouble.

The wicketkeeper was indeed fined after the game, though lost 15 per cent of his match fee as punishment for dissent after questioning an umpiring decision during day three of the match.

Ashwin ended up unbeaten on 39 to help India survive and remain level at 1-1 in the series ahead of the final game in Brisbane.

Sachin Tendulkar hailed the "immense contribution" MS Dhoni has made to Indian cricket and described winning the Cricket World Cup alongside his former team-mate as the best moment of his life.

Modern-day great Dhoni posted on Instagram on Saturday to say "consider me retired", along with a video montage of his India appearances over the years, though he did not specify whether his announcement refers to all cricket or just the international arena.

India legend Tendulkar, who scored 15,921 Test runs and a further 18,426 in ODI cricket, led the tributes to Dhoni, who captained his country to World Cup glory on home soil nine years ago.

"Your contribution to Indian cricket has been immense, @msdhoni," Tendulkar posted on Twitter.

"Winning the 2011 World Cup together has been the best moment of my life. Wishing you and your family all the very best for your 2nd innings."

Fellow India great Virender Sehwag highlighted Dhoni's coolness under pressure as crucial to his longevity at the top of international cricket.

"To have a player like him, Mission Impossible…Players will come and go but there won't be a calmer man like him," Sehwag wrote. 

"Dhoni with his connect (sic) with people having aspirations was like a family member to many cricket lovers."

Suresh Raina, 33, added his own tribute on Instagram, in a post in which he confirmed he too is stepping away from international cricket.

"It was nothing but lovely playing with you, @mahi7781. With my heart full of pride, I choose to join you in this journey. Thank you India," he wrote.

India batsman Shikhar Dhawan added simply: "Captain. Leader. Legend. Thanks Mahi bhai for everything you have done for the country!"

Ravichandran Ashwin said the memories of his triumphs alongside Dhoni will forever stay with him.

He wrote: "The legend retires in his own style as always, @msdhoni bhai you have given it all for the country. 

"The champions trophy triumph, 2011 World Cup and the glorious @ChennaiIPL triumphs will always be etched in my memory. Good luck for all your future endeavours. #MSDhoni."

Dhoni, an explosive batsman and quality wicketkeeper, also won the World Twenty20 in 2007 and helped his team ascend to the top of the Test rankings.

He last played for his country in the July 2019 World Cup semi-final defeat to New Zealand at Old Trafford.

Exceptionally talented and audacious, Virendra Sehwag is a devastating right-handed batsman, gifted with brilliant hand-eye co-ordination, fabulous timing, and a cool head in any situation or against any opponent. His idol being Sachin Tendulkar, Virender plays the straight drive, backfoot punch and whip off the hips in identical fashion to the little master’s. His appetite for runs and batting for long periods is also obvious from his two 300+ scores and his three 290+ scores in Test cricket. Those innings put him in the rarified air of the greatest batsmen to ever live. Sehwag is also an effective right-arm off-spin bowler and an agile slip-fielder.

 

Career Statistics 

Full name: Virender Sehwag

Born: October 20, 1978, Delhi

Major teams: India, Asia XI, Delhi, Delhi Daredevils, ICC World XI, India Blue, Kings XI Punjab, Leicestershire, Marylebone Cricket Club, Rajasthan Cricket Association President's XI

Role: Top-order batsman

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm offbreak

 

Test Career - India (1999–2013)

Mat    Inns    NO  Runs   HS     Ave    BF          SR       100s      50s   

104    180    6    8586  319  49.34  10441    82.23    23         32   

 

Career Highlights

  • Only batsman in the history to have scored 7,500-plus runs in both Tests & ODIs as an opener
  • Fastest Test triple century for which he took 278 balls
  • Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World 2008, 2009
  • ICC Test Player of the Year 2010
  • Most triple centuries in Tests: 2 (joint record holder along with Don Bradman, Brian Lara & Chris Gayle)
  • Most 290+ scores in Tests: 3 (joint record holder along with Don Bradman)
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.