Christchurch (New Zealand) – Australian captain Steve Smith was fined 30 percent of his match fee for dissent on Wednesday after a confrontation with the umpires in the second Test against New Zealand.
Australia won the Test by seven wickets to move to the top of the world rankings, but celebrations were marred by Smith’s summons before the International Cricket Council match referee to explain his actions.
He was later fined in connection with the same obscenity-laden rant that had already cost Josh Hazlewood 15 percent of his match fee.
The abuse levelled at the umpires during their seven-wicket win in Christchurch to sweep the series was the latest in a series of incidents involving Australia.
But Smith defended Australia as a team who play the game hard and push the boundaries but don’t mean to offend.
“I don’t think we’re not nice guys. We play a good, hard, aggressive brand of cricket,” Smith said, admitting he and Hazlewood were wrong in how they approached the umpires after Australia were denied an lbw decision against Kane Williamson.
“For us it’s about knowing where that line is and myself and Josh Hazlewood have crossed that line in this Test match and that’s not what we’re about, and hopefully we can learn from that and continue to develop as a team and get better.”
Smith said he believed at the time he was acting correctly to question the umpire’s decision.
– ‘Not good enough’ –
“I thought I was well within my rights to go up to the umpire and ask him why we didn’t use the real time snicko,” he said referring to the ‘snickometer’ heat-detecting technology used to determine if the ball has hit the bat.
“That’s deemed to be dissent and I’ll cop that on the chin and I need to be better as a leader, I need to set the example and that was not good enough.
“For me it’s about trying to learn from my mistakes and improve and try and get this team going forward in the right direction and playing the good aggressive brand of cricket that we play so well and know there’s a line there that we can’t cross.”
Despite the on-field dissent, New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum, who retired from international cricket at the end of the Test, maintained there was a good relationship between the two sides.
“This series has been played in great spirits, I think, and the one back in Australia. I think Steve Smith has been a catalyst for that,” he said.
“He plays the game for the right reasons as well. He plays with his heart on his sleeve but he’s a very respectful guy and a wonderful cricketer.
“They’re number one in the world now and a lot of that is to do with his leadership and (Australian coach) Darren Lehmann’s as well.”