‘Blowing up’: Steve Smith backflips on huge Ashes storm

‘Blowing up’: Steve Smith backflips on huge Ashes storm
  • PublishedJune 3, 2024

Steve Smith has changed his tune after cameras captured a tense moment inside the Australian dressing room during the spiteful 2023 Ashes series.

Incredible details from inside the Australian camp have been disclosed in the hit new series of The Test on Prime Video and Smith has now shared his new view on one of the most dramatic moments of the series.

The Aussie vice-captain was in the middle of the Fifth Test storm when English captain Ben Stokes famously dropped a catch when celebrating too early on the final day of the Fifth Test last year.

Stokes appeared briefly to have snared a classy catch springing straight up in the air at leg slip when Smith gloved a delivery from Moeen Ali.

Stokes’ brief moment of having control of the ball was dismissed by the on-field umpire and the video umpire as well when the home side challenged the call.

Ben Stokes lost the dismissal and the review. Photo: Prime Video.

Ben Stokes lost the dismissal and the review. Photo: Prime Video.

Stokes appeared uncomfortable with the situation as he was getting talked into reviewing the decision by his teammates, but eventually called for the referral.

That was far from the end of it.

Stokes protested with the umpires that his side should not have lost their review as a result of their challenge with uncertainty surrounding why Smith was given not out in the first place.

After complaints from English players and a long discussion with the umpires, England lost their review.

In the ensuing lunch break, Smith’s lifeline was the talk of the Australian dressing room, and footage now released on Prime Video shows the 34-year-old batsman was surprisingly on England’s side of the argument.

Aussie batter Travis Head, who was at the non-striker’s end at the time, said it was “chaos” in the minutes that followed Stokes’ dropped catch and the controversial review which saw Stokes widely criticised for an “unsporting act”.

Steve Smith's grimace said it all at the time. Photo: Prime Video,

Steve Smith’s grimace said it all at the time. Photo: Prime Video,

Footage in the docu-series shows Smith explaining to his teammates and coach Andrew McDonald why he spoke up in support of Stokes’ complaints about England losing its review.

“They were blowing up saying they lost their review,” Smith said.

“And I was saying ‘Yeah, you’re right. That’s fair enough. You shouldn’t have lost the review’.”

Smith’s teammates, Marnus Labuschagne, David Warner and Usman Khawaja are among those to have disagreed with Smith’s opinion in the heat of the moment.

McDonald responded to Smith in the conversation by saying: “But you’ve challenged the umpire. The umpire didn’t review that one”.

A tired-looking Smith responded: “I disagree. What about the ones that are low to the ground? You think you should lose your review there? That’s just my opinion.

“I told Stokesy, ‘Here it is buddy, the spirit of cricket’.”

An incredulous Labuschagne was clearly surprised by Smith’s stance and said: “Whose team are we on here?”.

Smith has now told news.com.au he has somewhat changed his view on the umpire’s decision to take a review off Stokes’ team.

Ben Stokes is consoled by Steve Smith. Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images.

Ben Stokes is consoled by Steve Smith. Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images.

“Kind of in the moment, I remember walking off the field with Stokesy, and he was like, ‘We shouldn’t have lost the review’ and I kind of agreed with him in that moment and probably took that into the dressing room,” Smith said.

“But upon reflection… first of all, I think I got given not out because I think the umpire thought I didn’t glove the ball, when I did. So I think that was why I was given not out initially, potentially, and then they had their chance to review it and they did and it was obviously not out, so maybe they should have lost it.”

Smith still feels sympathy for Stokes around the decision.

“In Stokesy’s defence you only have 15 seconds to make a decision,” he said.

“I think he actually got talked into reviewing it from (Jonny) Bairstow, who I don’t think actually saw what happened.

“He sort of saw him (Stokes) take it and then he wasn’t facing it and he was like, ‘What are you doing? He smashed it. Review it’. So in his defence, he kind of got talked into it, so maybe then he could have pulled out, but once you review it, it’s too late. A lot can happen in 15 seconds.”

Smith finishes the documentary by saying he has “unfinished business” because of the series finishing in a 2-2 draw.

Smith is not ruling out paying on until the 2027 Ashes series on English soil when he will be 37 years’ old.

“I kind of take it day by day. That’s a fair while away,” he said.

“I won’t say yes or no to that. I’m not really sure.”

Meanwhile, all eyes will be on the 2025-26 series on Aussie soil after England won the fifth Test by just 49 runs to ensure Australia’s drought on English soil extends for at least another three years.

As controversial as the Stokes’ dropped catch was, it was nothing compared to the furore that surrounded the replacement ball that caused carnage at the top of the Australian batting order in the fifth Test.

Former Test captain Ricky Ponting famously called for an official investigation into the controversy as England was handed a Dukes ball full of life when the previous ball had been 36 overs’ old.

The series concluded with Ashes relations at a bitter low and widespread reports of animosity between the two dressing rooms.


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