You can now leave comments on the articles that matter to you. Find out more here

‘Can you help me?’: Some Australia cricket fans sledge the wrong Smith and Payne

Martin Cooper January 20, 2021
England v Australia: 2nd Investec Ashes Test - Day One

Former batsman Mohammad Kaif has described India’s sensational series-clinching victory at the Gabba as one of the “greatest Test away wins ever” – but you can excuse Australia cricket fans for being upset. After all, reverse the headline and it reads as one of the “worst Test home defeats ever”.

But some Australia cricket fans on Twitter who were looking for a scapegoat should have checked the pen pics first.

Their error came to light when a certain Tim Payne started copping flak rather than the real Australia cricket captain, Tim Paine.

His cry for help received a number of apologies from Twitter users:

The (un)real Tim Paine received sympathy from another Twitter user – Steve Smith (no, not that one) who had been suffering the same problem:

This led to fears among other Twitter users with names similar to Australian cricketers:

One of the greatest Test series

If you’ve been self-isolating with no internet this week let us explain the story behind the backlash (painful spoiler alert Australia fans).

After getting thrashed in the first Test of the Gavaskar-Border trophy following a paltry second innings score of 36, the real Tim Paine must have been rubbing his hands in glee.

However an India side – beset by injury and with skipper Virat Kohli at home for the birth of his baby – hit back in stunning fashion.

The Blues won the second Test by eight wickets and then scored 334 for five in the third Test to bat out for what seemed an unlikely draw.

Photo by Albert Perez – CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images

Down to the bare bones for the deciding Test, India were forced to call up two debutants including Washington Sundar, who had been helping the side by bowling in the nets. He scored 62 in his first innings and took the wicket of the (real) Steve Smith among others.

Set a Gabba second innings record of 328 to chase, everyone expected India to attempt another rearguard to hang on to the trophy.

Instead, the Blues chased down the total with three wickets to spare to inflict Australia’s first defeat at the Gabba since 1988 – one of the all-time great wins.

You can bet Indian heroes such as Sundar, Shubman Gill and Rishabh Pant are receiving nothing but plaudits on their social media channels.

Thoughts? Comment Below
LOGIN to Comment
LOGIN to Comment
Have something to tell us about this article?
Let us know
Martin Cooper is a senior editor and writer at The Focus. The man behind the style guide comes from a newspaper and magazine background and has worked in the sports, aeronautical and hospitality industries. While head of production at The Argus he appeared on the Jeremy Vine radio show and worked as a freelancer on the sports desk at The Sunday Times. Martin is also an FA Level 1-qualified coach and took his youth team from division five to division one in two seasons before going out at the top.