'Disgrace to the game': Ugly Steve Smith moment angers cricket world

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor

Graeme Swann said anyone who booed Steve Smith and David Warner during Australia’s World Cup clash with England on Tuesday was a “disgrace to the English game.”

And that’s exactly what happened as Smith walked out to bat on the hallowed turf at Lord’s.

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Warner and Smith on Tuesday played their first official match against England since the ball-tampering scandal and 12-month bans, ahead of five Ashes Tests in August and September.

While the reception for Warner was surprisingly tame, Smith was loudly booed as he joined Aaron Finch at the crease early in Australia’s innings.

Steve Smith walks off the field after being dismissed. (Photo by Adam Davy/PA Images via Getty Images)

Boos and jeers were clearly heard as the former Australian captain made his way to the middle, with English fans letting him know they’re still not happy about the ball-tampering scandal.

“If you want to boo, and you want to be boorish and yobbish, don’t go to a sports match,” Swann told ESPN Cricinfo before the match.

“Boorish and yobbish behaviour is the whole reason David Warner will be booed, for being boorish and yobbish.

“If you’re going to turn up and boo, you shouldn’t be here and you’re a disgrace to the English game.”

It also divided fans and pundits on social media.

‘Entitled to have their view’

England captain Eoin Morgan earlier said it's up to fans to decide whether they want to accept Smith and Warner again.

Fan behaviour is again in the spotlight after England opener Jonny Bairstow accused Australia of hypocrisy on the matter in a newspaper column.

They were jeered throughout a warm-up match against the World Cup hosts in Southampton last month, with Smith even booed as he reached three figures.

The pair has been generally well received over the past fortnight though, with India captain Kohli even telling his own fans to cheer the former Australian captain and vice-captain.

England fans let Steve Smith have it. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)

But Morgan refused to follow suit, saying fans are within their rights to voice their opinions.

"You don't know how sports fans are going to react. I think they are entitled to have their own view," Morgan said.

"Just because punishment was handed out and the two guys served their punishment, doesn't mean they are going to be accepted back into the cricket community straightaway with open arms.

"It will take time."

After captain Aaron Finch hit an even 100 to lead Australia to 7-285, Jason Behrendorff and Mitchell Starc took nine of England's 10 wickets to roll them for 221 in reply.

Tuesday's result guaranteed Australia a semi-finals spot and left England's hopes in doubt, sitting fourth with two big games to play after entering the tournament as favourites.

with AAP