Optical illusion in dicey Smith moment
Steve Smith walked a fine line in Australia's win over England in the two sides' third and final T20 international on Wednesday.
Mitch Marsh's unbeaten 39 from 36 balls guided the Aussies to a five-wicket win with three balls to spare as they chased down England's 6/145, but the victory was merely a consolation as the hosts had already won the first two games to claim the series.
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Smith had a lacklustre series with the bat, managing a top score of just 18 across three digs but he was all class in the field in the final outing in Southampton.
The former captain was fielding on the leg side boundary late in the Poms' innings when Moeen Ali swung Mitchell Starc into the deep.
Smith settled and caught the ball then, realising he was in danger of losing balance and toppling over the rope, threw the six-stitcher up in the air so he could regain his composure and complete the catch in the field of play.
Upon replay, some Indian cricket fans suggested Smith's left foot may have made contact with the rope while the ball was in his hands, which would have resulted in six runs to Ali rather than a wicket.
However, many others maintained it was completely legal.
Dei wasn't the Steve Smith's catch at the boundary line to dismiss Moeen Ali, a six? 🤔 #ENGvsAUS— Rahul Krish Bhaskar (@Rahul_Bhas) September 9, 2020
Former England captain Mike Atherton said while it looked like the cushioning on the rope moved when Smith's foot got close, suggesting it was touched, it was actually an optical illusion caused by shadows.
"There was a moment there where you might think the foot had touched the boundary edge but it was actually the shadow," Atherton said in commentary for Sky Sports.
Smith was confident he took the catch fairly and the third umpire agreed to send Ali on his way.
Meanwhile, fast bowler Josh Hazlewood hopes Australia can take its winning momentum from the final T20 into the one-day series against England.
Hazlewood, playing his first T20 international in more than four years, took 1/23 from his four overs, including the wicket of danger man Tom Banton in the last match of the series.
"It feels great to get a win after such a long break," Hazlewood said.
"Being the number one T20 side is always a great feeling and yes, the win will give us momentum heading into the ODI series."
Originally published as Optical illusion in dicey Smith moment