Smith booed over wild mid-game moment
IT WAS not the brutal return to cricket in South Africa most expected, but Australia still copped flak from the Johannesburg crowd on Friday night, with fans bringing in signs to re-open old wounds and Steve Smith booed loudly at one point.
By and large the Australian star heard little from the Wanderers crowd in the first Twenty20, but there was one moment the Bull Ring did not take too kindly to at all.
Looking to cash in on any mistakes made by South Africa's Dale Steyn, Smith smashed a ball over mid-on that he had to charge to reach on the second bounce.
He managed to get it across the ropes on the bounce, only for the umpire to call it a dead ball as he was playing the stroke, with Steyn adjudged to have released the ball unintentionally.
The South African paceman had clipped the side of his head midway through his bowling action and subsequently released the ball.
The Johannesburg crowd did not think too much of Smith carting the ball to the ropes, booing him loudly in his first match back in South Africa since returning from the 12-month ban he was dealt after the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal.
Smith did not seem to care too much one way or another about either the crowd's reaction or the umpire's call, shrugging after it was ruled a dead ball.
While the Wanderers crowd did not lay into the Australians with the same ferocity as the Barmy Army during the Ashes, there was no doubting the sins of 2018 were not forgotten.
"Sandpaper for sale. Pocket-sized for extra discreetness," read two fans' signs.
Smith was allowed to cash in on one Steyn mistake though.
The right-hander should have been out for a duck to Lungi Ngidi, slashing the quick straight to Steyn at deep third man only for the South African veteran to lose the ball in the floodlights.
Having set himself early, Steyn seemingly lost the ball at the last second as it landed just behind his shoulder.
Smith made South Africa pay for the missed chance, blasting 45 runs off 32 balls.