Ashes 2019: Justin Langer denies Steve Smith was mocking Jack Leach during victory celebration

Australian head coach Justin Langer has denied Steve Smith was mocking Jack Leach after their fourth Test victory which saw the team retain the Ashes.

Following the visitors 185-run win in Manchester, Smith was pictured stepping into the centre of a team huddle, wiping a pair of glasses before showing-batting left-handed just as the England spinner does.

“Experience tells me that when you’re doing well, people will try and pick holes in you,” Langer said. “I know the truth, Chris Rogers is a great mate of the squad, that’s all it’s about.


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“People can make up what they like about it, but that’s the truth. Everyone around the world has seen the great spirit the World Cup and this series has been played in.”

Smith’s celebration appeared to be an unkind parody of Leach, who was forced to wipe his glasses regularly as he resolutely kept out the Australian bowlers during the third Test at Headingley.

Having played a crucial part in helping England win the match, Leach returned to Yorkshire pitch after the match to re-enact the single he scored during his unbeaten innings.

However, Langer believes the celebrations witnessed by his side at Old Trafford were relatively muted because the fifth Ashes Test at The Oval, which starts on Thursday, follows so soon.

“That celebration was two out of 10 to some of the ones I have seen because we knew we had to play three days later,” he added.

“When you have a good day you have to celebrate it as long as you move on and get ready for the next one. We’ve said the whole time, I’ve said it since day one, we’re here to win the Ashes, so whilst the other day was a great experience, we have still go some business to do.

“There is a good feeling in the group, they know there is still unfinished business and we are looking forward to this last Test match.”

Meanwhile, despite David Warner’s poor run of form during the series, which has seen him make single figure in seven of his eight innings so far, Langer said the opener would retain his place in the side.

“Davey hasn’t had a great series,” he admitted. “There’s no secret about that, but he’s also a great player. I’ve said throughout the whole series if Davey has one good series he’ll help us win the Ashes.

“He probably hasn’t been through this lean run before so it’s going to be a good test of his character. He’s been good for the crowds, he’s been good amongst the group.

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