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Steve Smith denies using lip balm on ball

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Australia captain Steve Smith shut down one controversy and stoked another as his side slipped to a third straight one-day defeat against England.

As well as surrendering the series with a 16-run defeat Smith had an eventful day at the SCG, given out after a disputed catch by Jos Buttler as he attempted in vain to reel in a target of 303.

He was also called to explain television pictures which showed him rubbing his mouth and then the ball, with England’s Barmy Army Twitter account suggesting he may have used lip balm to alter the condition of the Kookaburra.

James Anderson was forced to deny a spurious claim of ball tampering during the Ashes and Smith was quick to plead innocence too.

“There’s nothing in it,” he said.

“People said something about lip balm but if you look at my lips they’re pretty dry, I certainly didn’t have any of that on.

“It’s just the way I get some spit into the side of my mouth and on to the ball.”

He was more interested in the manner of his dismissal, caught behind by a stooping Buttler.

Smith stood his ground while the on-field umpires asked Kumar Dharmasena to check if the ball hit the ground but with replays inconclusive, the so-called ‘soft signal’ was upheld.

Australia v England - Game 3

“It’s irrelevant what I think, I got given out and had to walk off the field, but I’m not sure I’m a big fan of the ruling with the soft signal,” he said.

“It’s hard to overturn anything. If the fielder goes up and celebrates it usually gets given out. If you’re a bit apprehensive it’s usually not out.

“I’d like the third umpire to actually make the decision whether it’s out or not out.”

Australia were fined after match referee Ranjan Madugalle deemed Smith’s side to be two overs short in their allotted timeframe.

That means Smith was docked 40 per cent of his match fee, while his team-mates will lose 20 per cent of theirs.

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Topics:
Cricket
The Ashes
Australia cricket
England cricket

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