Aussie cricketer Steve Smith may have impressed Aussies with an incredible comeback on the opening day of the Ashes, but he was forced to contend with boos from British spectators after achieving an amazing century.
The 30-year-old, along with fellow players David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, were all booed as they walked onto the field at the beginning of the match on Thursday over their previous ball tampering scandal, 7 News reports.
The negative sounds continued throughout the game and even occurred when Smith claimed an impressive 100, with boos heard throughout the crowd from unhappy England supporters still outraged by the ball tampering in South Africa last year.
While the boos didn’t seem to phase the cricketer, who smiled broadly at his team after his incredible achievement, fellow Aussies and others around the world weren’t pleased with the response.
Taking to social media, many people slammed those who booed Smith, claiming it was pathetic and disgusting.
“Smith is a brilliant cricketer and has performed well for Australia,” one person wrote on Twitter. “He has paid his dues for the ball tampering misdemeanour. England fans should be ashamed for booing his first half century of the competition.”
Another commented: “That booing of Steve Smith today after a fantastic century was shocking. He’s served his ban. Get a grip you sad sacks.”
While a third chimed in adding: “It was probably fair enough to boo Steve Smith in the immediate aftermath of the ball tampering, but pretty pathetic that some of Edgbaston were booing him today. Should have been applauding a great century.”
This wasn’t the only unsportsman-like behaviour of the day, with reports claiming the two teams didn’t take part in the usual handshakes pre-game with England captain Joe Root and coach Trevor Bayliss refusing to do so.
According to The Guardian, the two were “frustrated” with Aussie skipper Tim Paine’s new handshake tradition being included in the official match day operations. Root and Bayliss reportedly told a referee they had not been consulted about the handshake ceremony and therefore did not follow through with it, with the Australian team instead heading straight back to the dressing room after the national anthems were played while the Brits prepared to start the game.
Meanwhile, Smith remained in good spirits following the match, explaining how he has fallen in love with the sport again after a challenging year following the ball tampering scandal.
“There were times throughout the last 15 months where I didn’t know if I was ever going to play cricket again,” an emotional Smith told reporters.
“I lost a bit of love for it at one point, particularly when I had my elbow operation and it was really bizarre that it was the day I got my brace off my elbow that I found love for it again.
“It was like a trigger that just said, ‘right, I’m ready to go again. I want to play and I want to go out and play for Australia,’ and I guess make people proud and just do what I love doing.”
Smith added: “I’ve never had those feelings (of doubt) ever before. I didn’t have a great love for the game and it was there for a little while and fortunately that love’s come back and I’m really grateful to be in this position playing for Australia again and doing what I love.”