Australian superstar Steve Smith has stormed off the MCG after a heated discussion with on-field umpire Nigel Llong.
Smith was visibly furious after Llong twice robbed Smith of runs when he made controversial rulings about Smith’s defensive strategy against Kiwi enforcer Neil Wagner.
Smith, who was booed by a hefty contingent of Kiwi fans as he walked out onto the MCG to begin his innings, twice shouldered arms and wore painful short balls that crashed into his torso before bouncing away off the square.
• Live cricket updates: Black Caps v Australia, Boxing Day test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground
• Watch: Southee’s stunning catch removes kingpin
• Cricket: Ex-England captain Michael Vaughan slams world rankings ahead of Black Caps v Australia Boxing Day test
• Boxing Day test at MCG: Cricket start time, weather for Black Caps v Australia
Smith twice tried to scuttle through for singles on those deliveries, but Llong ruled the deliveries were dead balls because Smith didn’t offer a shot.
Smith angrily argued the singles should be included to the Aussie total because he was taking evasive action to avoid getting hit in a dangerous place by the short ball barrage.
After the final over before lunch, Smith confronted Llong about the calls before storming off with a shake of his head when Llong explained why he’d denied Smith his leg-bye runs.
Smith was then again booed by the Kiwis in the crowd as he came out to resume his innings after lunch.
Aussie legend Shane Warne said Smith had every right to blow up because Llong was using an incorrect interpretation of the rules.
“The umpire is wrong,” Warne told Fox Cricket.
“Steve Smith has every right to be angry because the interpretation Nigel Long is giving at the moment is incorrect,” Warne said.
“The rule is, if you evade a short ball and it hits your body, any part of your body and you take it, you’re allowed to run. Even if you don’t play a shot.
“Nigel Long has got that wrong. I’m sure someone is going to have a chat to Nigel Long in the lunch break.
“Steve Smith is livid and rightly so.”