English fans are raging over a photo of Steve Smith snapped during Australia’s on-field celebrations after the fourth Ashes Test.
However according to the photographer, there’s a completely innocent explanation.
‘IT’S PATHETIC’: Aussie legend slams England over 'disgraceful' act
The Aussies took their celebrations out onto the Old Trafford pitch on Sunday night after securing a 2-1 lead in the series - enough to see them retain the Ashes with one Test to play.
Amid the celebrations, Smith donned a pair of glasses.
According to The Sun reporter David Coverdale, Smith was mocking England spinner Jack Leach - who has become a cult hero for his spectacles.
After England’s thrilling win in the third Test in which Leach scored a single run to help Ben Stokes pull off an extraordinary victory, the No.11 batsman famously recreated his heroics on the pitch during celebrations.
According to Coverdale, Smith was “taking the p***” out of Leach’s actions, even pretending to bat left-handed like Leach.
Steve Smith just been taking the piss out of Jack Leach by putting on glasses and shadow batting left handed in the middle of the team huddle.— David Coverdale (@dpcoverdale) September 8, 2019
English fans were less than impressed, but the photographer who snapped the pics has a different version of events.
According to Getty Photographer Ryan Pierse, Smith’s glasses were a playful dig at former teammate and good mate Chris Rogers, not Leach.
Bit of chat in the UK and Australian press this morning that Steve Smith was mocking Jack Leach last night. The fact is Steve donned some glasses as a nod to the great Chris ‘Bucky’ Rogers. Uncanny resemblance wouldn’t you say! 🤓🏺🇦🇺 @gettysport @stevesmith49 #Ashes19 pic.twitter.com/pDtlsGBY9A— Ryan Pierse (@RyanPierse) September 9, 2019
Pierse and Coverdale clashed on social media about the real story, with Coverdale also claiming he heard the Aussies chanting “no ball” and “come back Smithy” in reference to Leach’s no-ball that gifted Smith a massive lifeline in the fourth Test.
England fans were quick to slam Smith before the Australian version of events came out.
“We should stop booing and applaud how far the man has come”. Immensely talented but will always be an arrogant sod— Alan (@al_smith11) September 8, 2019
As always , classless in victory...— Kaypers (@kaypers23) September 9, 2019
Feel pity. You can't buy class.— Mark Jordan (@MarkSJordan) September 8, 2019
Aussies on cloud nine
The darkest hour came just before an Ashes dawn at Old Trafford, where Australia ended England's resistance late in the final session of the fourth Test to secure the urn and a dramatic 185-run victory.
Tim Paine's team, accused of choking under pressure as Ben Stokes snatched an astonishing one-wicket win in the third Test, bounced back to bank a momentous 2-1 series lead.
Paine achieved something beyond the reach of Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke in becoming the first Australian captain to retain the urn in England since Steve Waugh in 2001.
Marnus Labuschagne landed one in the rough to break a stubborn ninth-wicket stand, spanning 64 minutes and no shortage of tense moments, then Josh Hazlewood trapped Craig Overton lbw to complete the win at 6.14pm local time.
Overton, Joe Denly and Jos Buttler faced a combined 339 deliveries, giving their team hope of completing a great escape on a par with Monty Panesar and Jimmy Anderson's Cardiff miracle in 2009.
Overton's review briefly delayed Australia's celebrations as England, rolled for 197 after being set a target of 383, fell 81 balls short of salvaging a draw.