Steve Smith after scoring unbeaten 77: Cheering, booing... I dunno

Updated: Dec 27, 2019, 08:35 IST | PTI | Melbourne

Steven Smith says he has learnt to block out everything when he walks out to bat; had no idea he was jeered during his unbeaten 77 on opening day of Boxing Day Test at Melbourne

Australia's Steven Smith en route his unbeaten 77 against NZ on Day One of the Boxing Day Test. Pic/Getty Images
Australia's Steven Smith en route his unbeaten 77 against NZ on Day One of the Boxing Day Test. Pic/Getty Images

Melbourne: It's the biggest event on Australia's cricket calendar, the opening day of the Boxing Day Test at Melbourne Cricket Ground. It's not the time an Australia batsman would expect to be booed.

"Is that what happened? I have no idea," Steven Smith said on Thursday after scoring an unbeaten 77 on Day One of the second Test against New Zealand. Australia will resume on 257-4 after being sent in to bat. Walking to the crease at the fall of Australia's second wicket, in front of a record crowd of more than 80,000—the biggest attendance ever for a day's play in an Australia-New Zealand Test—Smith was greeted by a mixture of boos and cheers.

The booing was linked to Smith's 12-month ban for his role in the ball tampering affair in the Cape Town Test against South Africa in March, 2018. Smith was Australia's captain at the time. Smith is eligible to regain Australia's captaincy role in March 2020. He showed tremendous resilience during Australia's Ashes tour of England in 2019, scoring 774 runs at an average of 110.57 and jointly winning the man-of-the-series award with England's Ben Stokes, despite constant abuse from crowds.

And now he is hearing boos in his home country. "I don't really listen when I walk out to bat. Cheering, booing, dunno," Smith added. "I've learnt to just block it all out, regardless, good or bad." It will be interesting to see if the boos turn into cheers if the World No.2-ranked batsman's sheer class is on display again on Friday. "One more good partnership would be nice and, I think, set the game up for us," Smith said.

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