Smith charged for dissent shown towards umpires
Australia's captain Steven Smith has been charged with dissent and fined 30% of his match fee over the same incident that saw fast bowler Josh Hazlewood fined 15% of his match fee on day four in Christchurch. The ICC confirmed Hazlewood's charge and penalty on Tuesday but it was not until Wednesday that the Australians were notified that Smith would also be penalised for breaching the code of conduct.*
Smith said he would cop the decision "on the chin". The incident occurred in the last over before lunch on the fourth day, when Hazlewood had an lbw appeal against Kane Williamson turned down by the on-field umpire Ranmore Martinesz, and Australia's review was struck down by third umpire Richard Illingworth.
Illingworth had noted a small Hot Spot near the bottom of Williamson's inside edge, which he deemed enough to stick with Martinesz's not-out decision, but the Australians were angered at the outcome having seen the review play out on Hagley Oval's big screen. Smith and Hazlewood approached Martinesz and appeared to demand an explanation as to why the decision had been upheld.
"Josh Hazlewood got brought under the code of conduct yesterday for what he did and I've also just been made aware that I've been put under the code of conduct for dissent as well," Smith said after Australia completed their victory on day five. "I thought I was well within my rights to go up to the umpire and ask him why we didn't use the Real Time Snicko.
"I guess out on the field we couldn't really see a Hot Spot and I've been informed since then, at the break just after the incident, that if there is a Hot Spot they don't go to Real Time Snicko. So that was basically what I was doing at the time and that's deemed to be dissent and I'll cop that on the chin and I need to be better as a leader. I need to set the example, and that wasn't good enough."
The incident brought into the spotlight the Spirit of Cricket in the final Test of New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum, who has spoken often of wanting his team to play the game "in the right way". During last year's ODI series in England McCullum wrote in a newspaper column that Smith might regret not withdrawing an obstructing the field appeal against England's Ben Stokes, and Smith conceded he could learn from the way McCullum has led.
"Brendon has been a great ambassador, and a great captain and leader for the game," Smith said. "I can learn a bit off the way he has done things. We've talked quite a bit and he gave me a bit of criticism in England with the Ben Stokes dismissal. We've talked a little bit about that. I guess I'm still young in my career as a leader and you try and learn from different things.
"Yesterday was a mistake on my behalf and I've been hit with a code of conduct [charge] because of it. To me it's about trying to learn from my mistakes and trying to get this team moving forward in the right direction and playing the good, aggressive brand of cricket that we play so well. We know that there's a line there that we can't cross."
*10.00GMT, February 24: This article was updated after details of Steven Smith's fine came in
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale