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Smith addresses heated umpire spray

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Cricket: Tensions were running high between Steve Smith and umpire Nigel Llong as the two disputed two dead ball calls.

Australia's Steve Smith talks with umpire Nigel Llong as they head off to the lunch break. Pic: Michael KleinSource:News Corp Australia

Steve Smith insists he was trying to evade the ball when umpire Nigel Llong denied Australia leg byes on Boxing Day, but will cop the dead-ball call.

Smith remonstrated with Llong as he left the MCG field at lunch on day one against New Zealand in a debate over cricket’s dead-ball rule.

Australia were twice denied leg byes when Smith was struck on the body by paceman Neil Wagner, before taking off for a run.

In both instances, Smith faced a short ball from the left-arm quick which struck him high on the body before trickling behind the wicket.

READ: Day one Boxing Day talking points

Under cricket’s laws, a leg bye can only be scored if the umpire is happy a shot has been attempted or the batsman has attempted to evade the ball.

Umpire Llong both times ruled that Smith had left the ball and let it strike him rather than “try and avoid being hit” in an absorbing first session in which Australia lost 2-67.

Smith and Llong got into it in the middle of the MCG.

Smith and Llong got into it in the middle of the MCG.Source:AFP

Smith made a beeline for Llong when lunch was called and the pair had an animated discussion for several seconds while walking off the ground.

“I was just asking the question,” Smith said.

It came after Matthew Wade frequently let the ball strike him on the body in the first Test in Perth, once also denied a leg bye when the umpires claimed he hadn’t played a shot.

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“I don’t think I am as mad a Wadey is, last game just trying to let them hit him,” Smith said.

“I was trying to get out of the way of them. It’s his interpretation and I’ve got to back that.

“I’ll just keep playing, I don’t want to get stuck into anything.

“His interpretation. Fair enough, play on.”

Smith talks with Nigel Llong as they head off to the lunch break. Pic: Michael Klein

Smith talks with Nigel Llong as they head off to the lunch break. Pic: Michael KleinSource:News Corp Australia

It came as Smith tried to find a way to counteract Wagner’s barrage of short balls, with fields set to catch him out on the pull shot.

Smith has been caught pulling the ball in his past three Test innings against the Black Caps, as well as when they last met in a one-day match during the World Cup.

However, he played the short ball without giving any real chance on Boxing Day, going to stumps unbeaten on 77 with Australia 4-257.

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