On Sunday, September 8, Australia retained the Ashes at Old Trafford, defeating England by 185 runs in the fourth Test. The tourists now lead the series 2-1. Australia were denied a win at Headingley with Ben Stokes and Jack Leach’s heroic last-wicket stand guiding England to a thrilling one-wicket victory. Leach wiping his spectacles to get off the mark and score that much-needed single in an exciting chase, which tied the game, brought him into the spotlight.
After winning the Manchester Test, Man of the Match Steve Smith was seen sporting glasses and batting left-handed in a celebratory team huddle later in the evening. Most felt that he was ridiculing resistant and stubborn Jack Leach (who provided the significant support to Stokes in Leeds) over his specs.
However, Australian coach Justin Langer cleared the air, claiming that Smith was imitating his former teammate and Australia opening batsman Chris Rogers. Back in 2013-14, Rogers had taken a fantastic catch in Perth that helped Australia to regain the Ashes.
Finally, the left-hander himself opened up on the matter, saying that he was “touched” by Steve Smith’s gesture.
“He (Smith) sent me that pic, I woke up to that pic this morning, saying he’d done it in honour of me. Whether I’m a smokescreen, I’m not exactly sure. I was touched anyway to have got a message from him. They looked like they were having fun,” the 42-year-old was quoted as saying by The Grade Cricketer podcast.
Besides taking a match-winning catch on the field, Rogers recalled how he had later repeated it, this time catching the beer bottle.
“After we won the Ashes in Perth in 2013-14, I managed to take a catch. I went and re-enacted the catch by catching a beer bottle at the time.”
He also felt that the boys were having some harmless fun post a well-deserved victory.
“All these things come around, it all happens. I don’t know why people are getting so offended. Who cares? It was all a bit of fun,” Chris signed off.