Ignorant Poms slam Smith’s Ashes celebration
The photographer who captured a bespectacled Steve Smith leading the Australian cricket team song has declared he was not mocking glasses-wearing England spinner Jack Leach.
Poms supporters and members of the UK press got their knickers in a knot when they accused Smith of disrespecting Leach when the Aussies returned to the field in Manchester a couple of hours after play ended to celebrate retaining the Ashes.
English reports claimed Nathan Lyon addressed the team and delivered a "foul-mouthed rant about the press".
Smith - who has dominated the series - was then invited into the middle of the team huddle where he "wiped a pair of glasses, put them on and shadow batted left-handed to much laughter from his pals".
Steve Smith just been taking the piss out of Jack Leach by putting on glasses and shadow batting left handed in the middle of the team huddle.— David Coverdale (@dpcoverdale) September 8, 2019
The Aussies were also reportedly heard shouting "no ball" and "come back Smithy" in reference to when Smith survived being dismissed in the first innings of the fourth Test when Leach overstepped.
They also cried "Who did we beat? England. How did we do it? Easy," and adapted the popular Barmy Army chant "Same old Aussies, always cheating" by singing "Same old Painey, always winning" about triumphant skipper Tim Paine.
But Getty snapper Ryan Pierse, who took the photos of the team, said Smith was imitating former Aussie opener Chris Rogers - who also wears glasses and bats left-handed.
"Bit of chat in the UK and Australian press this morning that Steve Smith was mocking Jack Leach last night," Pierse tweeted. "The fact is Steve donned some glasses as a nod to the great Chris 'Bucky' Rogers. Uncanny resemblance wouldn't you say!"
Meantime, Lyon insisted the local crowd's taunts had no effect as he bounced back from the disappointment of a major error to help Australia retain the Ashes.
The off-spinner, a key figure in Australia's 251-run win in the first Test at Edgbaston, found himself routinely mocked on social media and in person after he missed a chance to run out last man Leach before England completed a dramatic one-wicket victory in the third Test at Headingley.
That result left the Ashes all square at 1-1, with Lyon on the receiving end of ironic cheers every time he gathered the ball cleanly at Old Trafford.
But Australia's 185-run success in Manchester completed Sunday meant they kept hold of the Ashes at 2-1 up in a five-Test series ahead of this week's finale at the Oval in south London.
The 31-year-old Lyon did not seem that impressed with the taunts at the time but, speaking to travelling Australian media, he said: "To be honest with you, you hear it for the first over or two then it just becomes white noise.
"When you're a professional sportsman, your job is to come out and bowl well, and compete against whoever you're playing," added Lyon, Australia's third-most successful all-time Test bowler with 359 wickets in 90 matches. "I didn't really feel it or hear it at the back end so it doesn't worry me."
Australia will win their first Ashes series in England for 18 years if they avoid defeat at the Oval, with Lyon saying: "Right now, it probably hasn't sunk in, but as a kid growing up, and as soon as I got my Baggy Green (Australian cap), the biggest goal in my career has been to win the Ashes away.
"We're 2-1 up and I want to go 3-1 up, and when we hold the urn up at The Oval it's going to be an amazing feeling."
- with AAP