Australia’s prime minister Scott Morrison described the booing of Steve Smith at Lord’s as an “Ashes foul” and hopes the batsman can respond to his “hecklers” in the remainder of the series against England.
Smith was forced to retire hurt during the fourth day of the second Test at Lord’s after being struck on the neck by a Jofra Archer short ball.
However, the right-hander returned to the middle later in proceedings, receiving a warm ovation from the majority of the crowd, though a smattering of boos were audible.
Eventually dismissed for 92 by Chris Woakes, the former Australia captain played no further part in the remainder of the match. Australia were cleared to use Marnus Labuschagne as a replacement for the 30-year-old on Sunday, with the first concussion substitute in Test history helping the tourists secure a draw with a gritty half-century.
In a post on Facebook, Morrison criticised those at the home of cricket who had jeered “champion” Smith on his reappearance from the pavilion on Saturday.
— OptaJim (@OptaJim) August 18, 2019
“A draw for the second Test but it was a total Ashes foul for the crowd at Lord’s to boo Steve Smith,” the politician wrote, as well as posting a picture of Smith sitting inside the famous Lord’s Long Room.
“His performance on the pitch during his return to Test Match cricket in the UK demands nothing other than respect.
“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.
“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.”
Australia survived in the final session at Lord’s to retain their slender 1-0 lead in the series – the third Test starts in Leeds on Thursday.
Smith – who has scored 378 runs in the series so far – said during Sunday’s play that he is “hopeful” of being fit to play at Headingley, though will only do so if “100 per cent fit”.