Millennium Post

Smith backs Aussies as ‘nice guys’ despite dissent rap

Australian captain Steve Smith defended his side on Wednesday as “nice guys” after he was slapped with a dissent charge amid continuing fallout over umpire abuse during 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 being hauled before the International Cricket Council match referee to explain his actions. He was charged with dissent in connection with the same obscenity-laden rant that cost Josh Hazlewood 15 percent of his match fee. The ICC was expected to announce Smith’s penalty later Wednesday.

But Smith talked up the Australians as “nice guys” who play the game hard and push the boundaries but don’t mean to offend. The abuse levelled at the umpires during their seven wicket win in Christchurch to sweep the series against New Zealand was the latest in a string of incidents involving Australia. Two of the more notable episodes are the notorious 1981 underarm delivery when New Zealand needed six off the last ball to tie an ODI, and in 2013, when then captain Michael Clarke warned England’s Jimmy Anderson to prepare for a broken arm.

“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.
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