Australian PM condemns cricket fans who booed Steve Smith during Ashes Test

England v Australia - 2nd Specsavers Ashes Test: Day Four

Australia’s prime minister has criticised England fans for booing Steve Smith after he was felled by a 92mph bouncer during the second Ashes Test.

There was widespread concern when Smith suffered a horrifying blow to the neck from a fierce Jofra Archer delivery on day four at Lord’s.

The batsman was persuaded to retire hurt after receiving treatment in the middle, but returned to complete his innings little more than 40 minutes later.

On each occasion he was applauded warmly by most in attendance, but there were some who jeered, a common reaction since his return from a ball-tampering ban.

Smith was then ruled out of the final day of the Test with delayed onset concussion.

Writing on Facebook on Monday, prime minister Scott Morrison called it a “total foul” that Smith had been the subject of jeers from the crowds – and urged the 30-year-old to silence his critics by “bringing home the Ashes”.

“A draw for the second Test, but it was a total Ashes foul for the crowd at Lord's to boo Steve Smith,” Mr Morrison said.

“His performance on the pitch during his return to Test Match cricket in the UK demands nothing other than respect.

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“He’s a champion and has handled the events of the past year with a real humility.

“I’m extremely proud of Steve Smith, and it’s not just because he comes from the Shire,” a reference to the region south of Sydney where Smith is from and where Morrison represents in Parliament.

He added: “The crowd could learn a thing or two from Steve Smith and I look forward to him answering his hecklers with bat and ball in hand to bring home the Ashes.”

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