A dressing room Ashes photo is causing a huge stir among cricket fans one week after the Aussie star was accused of imitating England’s Jack Leach.
The whole saga was started after an image was published of Steve Smith celebrating Australia retaining the Ashes at Old Trafford, arm-in-arm with Nathan Lyon, surrounded by a circle of Aussie players and support staff.
In the video above: Ashes rivals share a laugh
Australia’s best batsman since Bradman was having a great time, wearing glasses and shouting out in song.
While at first glance it appeared the Aussie players were having a bit of harmless fun in the hours after their victory in Manchester, there were some claims that the batting superstar was in fact mocking England spinner Jack Leach.
Leach famously partnered Ben Stokes to an England victory in the third Test, before re-enacting his valiant last-wicket stand in post-match celebrations.
There were counter claims that Smith was in fact imitating former Aussie opener Chris Rogers.
However following the fifth Ashes Test it seemed like the excuses were over, and Australia’s best batsman since Bradman was owning the fact he was imitating the English spinner.
As players from both Australia and England enjoyed a beer and a chat in the dressing rooms at The Oval following the hard-fought series, Smith sought out Leach and took a hilarious picture with the spinner.
The England Cricket Twitter account posted the image to Twitter with the caption: “An all-time great – and Steve Smith Congratulations on an incredible #Ashes series @stevesmith49. Leachy loves the glasses.”
The image quickly took the cricket world by storm, as it showed there was no lingering ill will between the pair, even if Smith was in fact imitating his Ashes rival after the fourth Test.
Aussies leave with urn, Ashes regrets
Mission accomplished for Tim Paine and Justin Langer. Sort of.
Paine’s team will return to Australia after successfully retaining the Ashes, something their predecessors on tours of England in 2005, 2009, 2013 and 2015 failed to achieve.
But a loss in the series finale means the drought drags on; Australia haven’t recorded an Ashes series win in England since Steve Waugh’s side triumphed 4-1 in 2001.
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Their next chance will come in 2023, at which point it will be a 22-year wait. Steve Smith will be 34 and quite possibly gearing up for his Ashes swansong.
There was much for Paine and Langer to like about the past six weeks, headlined by a potent pace attack and Smith’s heroics.
But plenty went wrong, most notably the lack of batting depth exposed by Smith’s class, and the captain’s abysmal use of the Decision Review System (DRS).