Martedì, 23 Febbraio 2016 08:03

<div>Sport24.co.za | Smith backs Aussies as 'nice guys'</div>

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Christchurch - Australian captain SteveSmith defended his side on Wednesday as "nice guys" after he wasslapped with a dissent charge amid continuing fallout over umpire abuse duringthe second Test against New Zealand.

Australia won the Test by seven wickets tomove to the top of the world rankings, but celebrations were marred by Smithbeing hauled before the International Cricket Council match referee to explainhis actions.

He was charged with dissent in connectionwith the same obscenity-laden rant that cost Josh Hazlewood 15 percent of hismatch fee. The ICC was expected to announce Smith's penalty later Wednesday.

But Smith talked up the Australians as"nice guys" who play the game hard and push the boundaries but don'tmean to offend.

The abuse levelled at the umpires duringtheir seven wicket win in Christchurch to sweep the series against New Zealandwas the latest in a string of incidents involving Australia.

Two of the more notable episodes are thenotorious 1981 underarm delivery when New Zealand needed six off the last ballto tie an ODI, and in 2013, when then captain Michael Clarke warned England'sJimmy Anderson to prepare for a broken arm.

"I don't think we're not nice guys. Weplay a good, hard, aggressive brand of cricket," Smith said, admitting heand Hazlewood were wrong in how they approached the umpires after Australiawere denied an lbw decision against Kane Williamson.

"For us it's about knowing where thatline is and myself and Josh Hazlewood have crossed that line in this Test matchand that's not what we're about and hopefully we can learn from that andcontinue to develop as a team and get better."

Smith said he believed at the time he wasacting correctly to question the umpire's decision.

"I thought I was well within my rightsto go up to the umpire and ask him why we didn't use the real timesnicko," he said referring to the technology used to determine if the ballhad hit the bat.

"That's deemed to be dissent and I'llcop that on the chin and I need to be better as a leader, I need to set theexample and that was not good enough.

"For me it's about trying to learnfrom my mistakes and improve and try and get this team going forward in theright direction and playing the good aggressive brand of cricket that we playso well and know there's a line there that we can't cross."

Despite the on-field dissent, New Zealandcaptain Brendon McCullum, who retired from international cricket at the end ofthe Test, maintained there was a good relationship between the two sides.

"This series has been played in greatspirits, I think, and the one back in Australia. I think Steve Smith has been acatalyst for that," he said.

"He plays the game for the rightreasons as well. He plays with his heart on his sleeve but he's a veryrespectful guy and a wonderful cricketer.

"They're number one in the world nowand a lot of that is to do with his leadership and (Australian coach) DarrenLehmann's as well."

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