Steve Smith has shot down social media claims he tampered with the ball in Australia’s 16-run loss to England at the SCG on Sunday night.
Video posted on Twitter showed Smith putting his hands on the side of his lips and then rubbing his fingers on the ball, prompting claims he had rubbed lip balm on the ball.
Under the laws of cricket, the ball can be polished by a fielder”provided that no artificial substance is used”.
The video, taken from the 34th over, caught the eye of England’s Barmy Army – but Smith laughed off the claims after the footage was shown to him by an Australian official.
“It was all spit,” he said.
People said something about lip balm, if you look at my lips they are pretty dry. I certainly didn’t have any of that on.
“It’s just the way I get the spit into the side of my mouth and onto the ball. There was nothing in it.”
It comes after England quick James Anderson was accused by some quarters of the Australian media earlier this summer for being embroiled in a ball-tampering saga during the Boxing Day Test, before he was cleared by the umpires.
Meanwhile Smith did find himself in trouble with the match officials for slow over-rates, after Australia fell two overs short of completing them in the allocated three-and-a-half hours, even with time allowances given.
The Australian captain was fined 40 per cent of his match fee, but more crucially faces a one-match ban if his team fails to get through their overs again in the next year.
Looking for a bit of swing? Lip balm should do the trick. 💄👀pic.twitter.com/ppUidykXKj
— England's Barmy Army (@TheBarmyArmy) January 21, 2018
Not helping Australia’s cause was the fact Australia sent down 13 wides and one no-ball, beginning with two before the first legitimate ball was bowled by Mitchell Starc.
“They (the bowlers) have got to be a bit better with that as well,” Smith said.
“I think we were about 27 minutes overtime as well so it’s going to cost me a bit.
“It’s not ideal to have to bowl an extra two overs and give away runs against a quality opposition.”