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WATCH | Steve Smith Caught Scruffing Out Batsman's Mark - Damaging the Pitch or Gamesmanship?

After the drinks break in the first session of the final day - just before play resumed - the stumps cam caught an Australian player shadow bat on the pitch and before leaving, he scruffs up the batsman's mark. Pant then walks in and can be seen asking for the guard again.

WATCH | Steve Smith Caught Scruffing Out Batsman's Mark - Damaging the Pitch or Gamesmanship?

While India may have started day five of the 3rd Test at the SCG with saving the Test in mind, Rishabh Pant's counter-attacking fifty and Chesteshwar Pujara's positive intent to look for runs have given the visitors' a glimmer of hope of a win. The Australian bowlers - especially Nathan Lyon - have been under the pump, and a couple of drop chances have also not helped their cause. The hosts have so far tried a few things unsettle the duo and one of which seems to be scruffing out the batsman's mark.

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After the drinks break in the first session of the final day - just before play resumed - the stumps cam caught an Australian player shadow bat on the pitch and before leaving, he scruffs up the batsman's mark. Pant then walks in and can be seen asking for the guard again.

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The player in the video jersey number 49 is none other than Steve Smith. And while calling this incident an under-handed tactic might be a stretch, but surely brings up the question of Gamesmanship and the spirit of the game, and also may come under the ambit of the fielder damaging the pitch in the ICC Playing Conditions for World Test Championship.

As per section 41.12.1, It is unfair to cause deliberate or avoidable damage to the pitch. A fielder will be deemed to be causing avoidable damage if either umpire considers that his presence on the pitch is without reasonable cause and 41.12.2, if a fielder causes avoidable damage to the pitch, other than as in clause 41.13.1, at the first instance the umpire seeing the contravention shall, when the ball is dead, inform the other umpire.

However, the final call rests with the umpire to decide whether the fielder's action comes under 'damaging the pitch'.And if they do, they can caution the captain of the fielding side and indicate that this is a first and final warning. Another such infraction will lead to five penalty runs to the batting side.



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