‘I saw them, but didn’t pay attention’: Steve Smith on the protesters in Galle during SL vs AUS 2nd Test

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The most talked-about element of the second Sri Lanka-Australia Test in Galle has not been the cricket but the protests demanding the resignation of Sri Lanka’s president Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

The protestors, on Saturday, marched around Galle International Stadium and onto the ramparts of the old fort that overlooks the ground. The situation, however, did not distract Australia batter, Steve Smith, from doing his job.

“The country is obviously in turmoil and people are outside having their say,” Smith said in a cricket.com.au video released on Sunday.

“We could obviously hear it, we can still hear it now, but it didn’t really play a part in anything in the game.”

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READ |At Galle, street chorus: ‘Call for new Lanka, new innings’

Smith’s 145 in the first innings lasted for 369 minutes and 272 balls, and was crucial from Australia’s point of view in the Test as it took the visitors to a total of 364.

The 33-year-old said that he did notice the protestors when they arrived at the venue but they didn’t distract him.

“I saw them there this morning but nah…..it’s a fair way away to be honest, it’s kind of the other way so….didn’t really pay much attention to it.”

The Australia vice-captain further added, “Obviously, there’s a lot of wind here and it’s pretty quite outside of….there’s not heaps of people here so you can hear a lot but like I said…(it) didn’t really get to anyone or play a part in what was going on out in the middle.

Months of demonstrations over poor economic conditions in Sri Lanka reached a crescendo on Saturday as the protestors marched in and took over the presidential residence.

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