Steve Smith booed after hitting century in first game in England since tampering ban


Australia batsman Steve Smith was the subject of jeers on a number of occasions as he reached a century on his first outing in England since receiving a suspension for ball tampering.

Teammate David Warner was also booed by the Southampton crowd as they returned to action in a World Cup warm-up game against England at the Ageas Bowl.

The illegal use of sandpaper against South Africa saw the former Australia captain and Warner hit with 12-month bans from cricket, while there were also accusations of cheating during the 2017-18 Ashes series, with Cameron Bancroft - the recipient of a nine-month ban - using sugar on the ball.

During the match, Jonny Bairstow caught Warner's slog from Liam Plunkett's ball and crossed paths with Smith as he approached the crease - then came the heavy jeers.

Smith had the last laugh, though, hitting his century whilst the Aussies were struggling to record a competitive score.

After reaching 100, the Aussie raised his bat, only for more uncomforting boos to follow.

Australia finished 297-9 after Smith was caught-and-bowled off Tom Curran, after scoring 116 from 102 balls, in controversial fashion. Curran ordered a review after the 'catch' looked to be a bump-ball, and the third umpire gave the decision out.

Many cricket fans have taken to Twitter following the events and the general consensus is that the reaction towards Warner, but mainly Smith, are harsh when the pair are attempting to retrieve their past glory.

Smith is calm about the situation, though, and stated after his fine display: "I am pretty chilled, everyone is entitled to their opinions. I am happy to be back playing. Fortunately, I was able to contribute going into the World Cup."

In all seriousness, if chants of "cheat, cheat, cheat" will be ringing out around grounds towards Smith across the whole summer, it may get tiresome, so hopefully it won't get to that.

It was a performance to applaud, though, which has only intensified the hype for the start of the World Cup.

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