Ex-Australia internationals slam fans after Steve Smith booed at Lord’s
Steve Smith lies on the ground after being hit by a bouncer (AFP Photo)

A small section of the Lord’s crowd continued to boo Australia batsman Steve Smith despite him copping a sickening blow to his neck on Day 4 of the second Ashes Test.

READ: Smith suffers sickening blow to head

A Jofra Archer bouncer on Saturday crashed flush on the neck of the former Australia captain who fell to the ground as England fielders and batting partner Pat Cummins rushed towards him.

READ: Wouldn’t be surprised if neck guard become mandatory in future – Langer

Australia’s team doctor Richard Saw attended Smith who looked in significant pain and was eventually convinced to walk off the field. To his credit, Smith walked unassisted with the crowd giving him a standing ovation.

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Smith has been at the receiving end of some hostile reception since his return to international cricket from his ball-tampering ban earlier this year. But the act of booing after he fell on the ground has invited severe criticism from several former international cricketers.

“It was disgusting,” Ian Healy was quoted as saying by AAP. “Lord’s won’t be happy with that either. They don’t like any ‘yobbo’ element of crowd behaviour.”

Shane Warne, during commentary, said, “Just get up, clap and say that’s courageous, very brave.”

Former England captain Michael Vaughan joined the chorus, urging people to applaud instead of booing. “I get the pantomime of @stevesmith49 arrival to the crease and the booing but please stop booing once he plays with great skill, courage and incredible discipline !!! he deserves a standing ovation for that innings … #Ashes #Lords” Vaughan tweeted.

Australia coach Justin Langer expressed his helplessness at the booing, saying there’s nothing that can be done about it. “What can I say? … I’ve spoken enough about the boos, there’s nothing we can do about the boos,” Langer said. “There is also a lot of people standing and applauding him,” Langer said.

However, England pacer Chris Woakes said it was upto the fans to express what they felt but lauded Smith who returned to bat after the fall of the next Australian wicket. “People are entitled to do as they wish, that’s up to them and what they feel is necessary. What they think as a person is right and wrong. For Steve to come out, having been hit the way he was, does show some courage and character,” Woakes said.

Waokes trapped Smith lbw on 92, denying him a third consecutive Ashes ton in as many innings.