Ashes 2013: Australian batsman Steve Smith defends England players behaviour in wake of Shane Warne arrogance remark

Smith claims series has been 'hard but fair' and also denies that any player has been cheating following cheating allegation accusation

Australia batsman Steve Smith insists England have played “hard but fair” on their way to retaining the Ashes.

Smith today spoke up for the behaviour of both teams after former Australia great Shane Warne suggested England have been guilty of arrogance and smugness this summer.

Warne specifically cited the hosts' responses in press conferences and broadcast interviews, including remarks by Graeme Swann and Matt Prior.

"Let me tell you this, if you lose respect for the game and the opposition, cricket has a funny way of biting you on the backside," he wrote in his column for the Daily Telegraph.

Smith made it clear, however, that England have been guilty of no such behaviour on the pitch.

"It's been a hard-contested series, the biggest stage for Australian or English players," he said.

"It is always played hard but fair at the same time.

"(There is a) bit of banter. But that stays on field and we're always working hard to try to win."

Smith has also joined the chorus of denials that anyone involved in this summer's Ashes might have used silicone tape on their bats to try to 'cheat' Hot Spot thermal imaging technology.

Hot Spot is one of the principal methods by which the decision review system can detect impact of bat-on-ball, either to prove caught-behind verdicts or disprove lbws.

Reports this morning that the use of silicone tape may be defeating the technology were indignantly dismissed by Kevin Pietersen and others.

Smith said: "Obviously I don't think any of us have done anything with silicone on our bats.

"We know that we put fibreglass tape on the front and that's purely for protection of the bat - to try and make them last longer.

"It's in the spirit of the game not to do that sort of thing. We haven't even discussed anything about that, trying to cheat the system at all."

Smith insists the idea of the silicone ruse had simply never occurred to him, until this morning's reports surfaced.

"I've never thought about it. I've never seen silicone tape at all, not even heard of it before," he said.

"I don't even know what it looks like."

Along with most batsmen at some point in the three Ashes Tests so far, Smith was subject to a DRS procedure when he was confirmed not out caught-behind during his first-innings 89 at Emirates Old Trafford last week.

"It was their referral. I would have referred (if I'd been given out)," he said. "I felt I didn't hit it.

"It's a good system to try to get things as accurate as possible.

"It's something I think will be good, if it keeps improving and getting rid of bad decisions."

PA

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