McGrath~~s verbal bouncer: Smith wasn~~t any Mr Clean

Published: Sunday, June 16, 2002, 23:53 [IST]
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Melbourne: Australian fast bowler Glenn McGrath on Sunday returned fire on South African batsman Graeme Smith, saying the Protea was not the innocent victim of sledging on the cricket field that he claimed to be.

McGrath said he was disappointed to read Smith's comments in a magazine in which the South African accused the Australians of verbally abusing him during his Test debut in Cape Town in March. McGrath told a television channel that Smith gave as good as he got in the verbal battle. "The Australian way of playing is what happens out in the middle stays out there and he wasn't Mr Clean himself, he was having plenty to say," McGrath said. "Reading his comments he was actually saying more than I heard. I guess it was a little bit disappointing. "Sitting back reading it, especially with a guy that's only just come out, he's played a handful of games, you know two Tests and three or four One-day matches and to come out and sort of say those things, not only about me but other guys as well..." Smith said in an interview with a South African magazine that he had received abuse from several Australians, including McGrath, Shane Warne and opening batsman Matthew Hayden. Australian Limited-Overs captain Ricky Ponting this week admitted his team could improve its on-field behaviour. The Australians left Melbourne on Sunday for Brisbane, where they will play the third and final match in a One-day series against Pakistan at the Gabba on Wednesday.

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