Australia captain Tim Paine on Tuesday defended Steve Smith and said the Aussie batsman was not trying to change Rishabh Pant's guard. Smith was caught on camera scuffing the crease on Day 5 of the Sydney Test when Pant and Cheteshwar Pujara were building a solid partnership that was igniting hopes of a win in the Indian camp.
Speaking at a press conference, Paine said that Smith is disappointed with how his actions are being perceived, but it was just a routine exercise he does in every game.
"I have spoken to Steve about this and I know he is really disappointed with the way it has come across. And if you watch Steve Smith play Test cricket, that is something that he does every single game five or six times a day," Paine told reporters.
"He is always standing in the batting crease, shadow batting, as we know he has got those sort of many Steve Smith quirks, so one of them is he is always marking sand," he explained.
Paine further said that if there was changing of the guard marks, the Indian team would have taken up the issue.
"He (Smith) was certainly not changing guard and imagine if he was, then the Indian players would have kicked up a bit of stink (at) that time," he said.
"But that is something I have seen Steve doing many a times in Test matches and Shield games that I have played with him, when he is in the field, he likes to sort of walk up to where he bats and visualise how is he going to play," Paine elaborated.
"...There is no way in the world, he was trying to change Rishabh Pant's guard or anything like that. That is just one of Smithy's thing that he does, now that it has come up like it is, again it is something he might need to look at because of the perception of it," stressed Paine.
"One of his mannerisms, as I said he does a lot, he was marking sand and he wasn't by any stretch of imagination trying to change guard or do anything like that," Paine signed off.