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David Warner, Steve Smith silence Lord’s boos with smiles and runs

David Warner was booed throughout his innings of 53 off 61 balls, and there was minimal applause for his six boundaries. Even when he reached his half-century, boos rang out at Lord's,

Written by Dipankar Lahiri |
Updated: July 6, 2019 1:44:38 am
David Warner gestures after reaching his half-century against England at Lord’s on Tuesday (Reuters Photo)

David Warner and Steve Smith were put to the sword by the English crowd even as they piled on the runs for Australia against England at Lord’s in London in their World Cup match on Tuesday. The hostile reception that the crowd gave to the two batsmen even prompted several ex-cricketers and fans to express their disgust with the Lord’s crowd.

Warner was booed throughout his innings of 53 off 61 balls, and there was minimal applause for his six boundaries. Even when he reached his half-century, boos rang out inside the ‘Home of Cricket’. Warner just smiled at the reaction from the crowd, offered a thumbs-up in the direction of the Australian dressing room and returned to his crease.

Sunil Gavaskar, who was on air when Warner reached his half-century, said, “The crowd should understand nothing is going to come out of booing Warner and Smith. They did a mistake. Mistakes can happen to anyone. What has happened has happened and it is time to move on.”

Akash Chopra tweeted a little while later: “English crowd at Lord’s utterly disappointing….didn’t hear a clap for Warner’s half-century. Very very poor taste.”

Warner was greeted by jeers even when he was walking off after being dismissed, but he had done almost enough to silence the crowd by then, having brought up a 123-run opening stand with Aaron Finch. He had also become the first to bring up 500 runs in the 2019 World Cup, but the applause for this landmark was also minimal.

The boos returned when Steve Smith came in to bat at No. 4, but by then the wind had been all but taken out of the sails of that section of the crowd. With the riffs of ‘Smoke on the Water’ ringing out in the background, Smith took guard and the crowd was buzzing again. Smith, almost as if he could not hear anything, put his head down in determined readiness to play out the rest of the Australian innings.

The crowd was silenced again by Smith’s knock of 38 off 34 balls, laced with five boundaries. The jeers were heard again when Smith was dismissed, but the volume had significantly decreased from when Warner was batting.

Steve Smith walks off after being dismissed for 38 against England at Lord’s on Tuesday (Reuters Photo)

The Lord’s crowd, known for clapping even when an edge runs down for a four, did not clap for Warner and Smith, even as they scored 91 runs between them and hit eleven fours.

Australian ambassador to the USA, Joe Hockey, was one of those who brought to attention how docile the Lord’s crowd had become all of a sudden. He tweeted, “Is this the most docile, disengaged crowd at Lords in living memory? No one seems excited when the Aussies hit a four!!”

Some fans also pointed out how hypocritical it was for the English crowd to boo Smith and Warner when the England team has a member accused of affray.

Australia scored 285/7 in their 50 overs.

England captain Eoin Morgan had said before the match that he would not appeal to the crowd to stop booing Smith and Warner. Jonny Bairstow had also chipped in with a newspaper column, saying that it would be hypocritical to ask English fans not to boo Smith and Warner when the Australian team has previously resorted to inviting vicious behaviour from Australian fans towards opposition players in the past. In 2013, Australia coach Darren Lehmann had asked the Australian crowd to see that Stuart Broad “went home crying” from the Ashes series.

Smith and Warner were suspended for a year for their roles in the ball tampering scandal that enveloped the world of cricket last year. The World Cup is their first major international tournament since their returns and much of the build-up had been dominated by discussions over their likely reception.

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