Steve Smith defends himself after controversial scuffing, says it's something he does 'out of habit'

Australian cricket star Steve Smith has come out in defence of his controversial actions during the final day of the third Test against India, saying it's actually something he does all the time.

Smith was blasted following the draw in Brisbane after the stumps camera caught him scuffing an Indian batsman's guard marks while shadow batting on the pitch during a drinks break.

Smith himself, though, told Wisden Cricket it's something he has done regularly.

"It's something I do in games to visualise where we are bowling, how the batter is playing our bowlers and then out of habit I always mark centre," Smith said.

"It's such a shame that this and other events have taken away from what was a great batting performance by India."

Cricketers and commentators were unimpressed by Smith's antics, labelling them "very poor" and "naughty" while many Indian fans pushed further and claimed it was cheating.

Ex-England fast bowler Darren Gough had one of the most brutal reviews, though, citing the Australian's ball-tampering scandal in 2018 in his analysis.

"You've got Steve Smith, who showed us all these tears and sorrow just a few years ago when he got done for sandpaper on the ball," Gough said on talkSPORT radio. "Well now during a break in play between overs he's dancing around and scuffing up the pitch and rubbing out the marks with his spikes, the batsman's marker.

"That was totally out of order.

"People say he's done nothing wrong — well he has! He's going onto the pitch ... and rubbing out the markers the batsman has put on to [signal] where he puts his bat.

"It's plain cheating in my book."

India and Australia are headed to Brisbane for a series-decider at the Gabba after the draw in Sydney left the series level at 1-1.