- Steve Smith is the subject of a potential ball tampering scandal
- Television footage showed the Australia captain wiping his finger across his lip
- Smith then appeared to rub at the ball during Australia’s 16-run defeat
- He could face being fined his match fee if the ICC decide to take action
- But he denied using lip balm and said: ‘It’s just the way I get some spit into the side of my mouth and on to the ball’
Steve Smith, Australia’s captain, called for a revamp of TV referrals protocol after England match-winner Jos Buttler claimed his dismissal in one of two controversies in the third one-dayer at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Smith also flatly denied suggestions of ball tampering, after he was observed appearing to wipe lip balm on to the ball during England’s innings in their 16-run win.
Smith’s dismissal for 45 was the moment that turned the match, as Australia were reduced to 181 for four and left requiring 122 runs from the final 16 overs.
Australia captain Steve Smith is the subject of a potential ball tampering scandal
Television footage appeared to show Smith wiping his finger across his lip and rubbing the ball
Smith then polished the ball against his trouser leg before chucking the ball back to the bowler
Smith was dismissed in controversial circumstances as he edged Mark Wood behind
Smith trudged off shaking his head and mouthing ‘no way’ to a cacophony of boos from the 35,000 crowd that had turned up hoping to see Australia finally check England’s momentum with the white ball.
After the game, Smith urged the authorities to outlaw ‘soft signals’ by the on-field officials during such incidents and empower the TV umpire to make the call directly. Smith’s departure followed three minutes of checking different angles, as Kumar Dharmasena failed to uncover evidence to overturn Chris Gaffaney’s belief that the delivery from Mark Wood had been scooped up in Buttler’s glove without touching the turf.
‘I am not a big fan of the ruling with the soft signal,’ Smith said. ‘With the rule as it is at the moment, it’s hard to overturn anything,’ Smith said. ‘I would actually like for the third umpire to make the decision — whether it’s out or not.’
After a host of replays the third umpire could not see any evidence to overrule the decision
Smith hit 45 during Australia’s narrow 16-run defeat by England at the SCG on Sunday
Buttler blasted his fifth one-day international hundred during a stunning finale to the innings, when in the last 10 overs he and Chris Woakes added 102 runs.
Of the Smith catch, Buttler said: ‘I was pretty sure and I think any wicketkeeper would tell you when they’ve got their fingers under it. For me it was out.’
Smith himself appeared to apply something to the ball midway through the England innings. Law 42.3 states players are allowed to ‘polish the ball provided that no artificial substance is used’. Smith denied that anything was used in the shining process.
‘My lips are pretty dry. It’s just the way I get some spit into the side of my mouth and get it on to the ball. There’s nothing in it,’ Smith said.