Steve Smith, the vice-captain of Australia, quickly made headlines for his bizarre review, which triggered a devastating batting collapse in Galle. Following the second Test match against Sri Lanka, Australia’s appalling usage of the Decision Review System in Galle has come under intense scrutiny, with vice-captain Steve Smith bearing the brunt of the criticisms.
This week, Pat Cummins’ team was severely outnumbered, with the hosts Sri Lanka marching to a resounding innings victory on Monday. On day four of the finale, Prabath Jayasuriya, a rookie from Sri Lanka, grabbed 6/59 to help knock the visitors out for 151. Since October 2018, it was Australia’s worst team score in a Test match.
However, the Australians stabbed themselves in the foot by squandering three failed reviews early in Sri Lanka’s first innings, amidst some controversial umpiring from Kumar Dharmasena.
Taking advantage of Australia’s bungled reviews and Alex Carey’s missed stumping, Sri Lanka’s No. 5 Dinesh Chandimal accumulated an unbeaten 206 after tipping a Mitchell Starc delivery through to the wicketkeeper while being on 35. It was the highest individual score in a Test match by a Sri Lankan against Australia.
Later, Smith gained notoriety for a weird review made during Australia’s batting failure that resulted in unfavorable comparisons to the Sri Lankan tour in 2016 and turned him into a whipping boy.
In the 19th over, having Australia reduced to 2/59, Jayasuriya delivered a ball that spun past the outside edge and captured Smith, who did not make a run till then, on the back pad.
Without hesitation, umpire Michael Gough flashed the dreaded finger, and after a short chat with teammate Marnus Labuschagne, a bewildered Smith called for the review which was confirmed with three reds by replays, with Hawkeye predicting that the ball would have landed halfway up the middle stump.
Smith warily made his escape back to the dressing room after registering the seventh test career duck, nodding his head and mumbling to himself. The former Australian captain’s review came under strong criticism from cricket analysts for being frantic and ill-mannered.
Cricket commentator Adam Collins tweeted: “I’ve seen a lot of bad reviews — they happen. But Smith’s one of the worst; lacking in broader match awareness with so many batters to follow and fielders around the bat.”
“That is a very poor review need to be accountable and honest at both ends irrespective of the player plumb.”: Former Victorian captain Darren Berry posted:
The Australian’s Peter Lalor labeled it “one of the worst reviews you will ever see”.
Australia slipped to second place in the World Test Championship after the Galle defeat, which was Cummins’ first as Test captain and Andrew McDonald’s first as head coach of the team.
“I think half our batting line-up and half our bowling line-up hasn’t played a lot over here in the subcontinent,” Cummins told reporters after the loss.
“We turned up knowing it’s a tough place to win series and games over here.
“So to come away with a series draw, the same team that won last week … It might be a reality check that it’s tough playing away from home, in different conditions to what we’ve grown up playing in”.
“We’ll sit down and review it and look at different areas and maybe tactics, but I think it’s those methods which might be quite different to back home, and trying to be good enough overseas”.
“I think we got a lot of lessons out of it to take to India next year.”