India vs Australia: A Test history of bad blood

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The row between India captain Virat Kohli and Australia counterpart Steve Smith has quickly escalated, the fall-out from the second Test adding even greater spice to an intriguing Test series.

But it is by no means the first example of heated exchanges between India and Australia and the series has created a rather unique rivalry over the years.

Here, we look at four other examples when tempers have flared in the middle of an India vs Australia series.

MELBOURNE 1981

Sunil Gavaskar was ruled out lbw off the bowling of Dennis Lillee in the second innings but was furious with the decision, standing his ground before slapping his pads in anger.

The India captain started to return to the pavilion but Lillee said something to Gavaskar causing the opener to march back to the crease and instruct batting partner Chetan Chauhan to walk off with him.

The pair were met on the boundary by team manager Shahid Durrani and assistant Bapu Nadkarni who persuaded Chauhan to return to the field.

Gavaskar later admitted regret over his actions which could have caused India to forfeit the match: “As India captain, I was not supposed to act in that manner. In no way can I justify my act of defiance.”

ADELAIDE 1999

Perhaps Sachin Tendulkar’s most controversial dismissal occurred at the Adelaide Oval as he engaged in a toe-to-toe battle with Glenn McGrath.

Tendulkar had seen off six maidens from the fiery Aussie quick before a ball short of a length hit him on the shoulder as he ducked.

However, umpire Daryl Harper ruled it lbw believing the ball would have struck the stumps had it carried. Tendulkar was mystified but accepted the decision. The rest of India erupted in fury.

To this day, McGrath maintains it was out while Harper claims Gavaskar told him: “It would’ve been out LBW if the stumps were six inches taller.”

MUMBAI 2001

Michael Slater thought he had caught Rahul Dravid at square leg but it was given not out as the third umpire ruled the ball appeared to hit the turf.

An angry Slater then approached umpire S Venkatraghavan before turning his ire on Dravid who had refused to walk and swore at the India batsman.

Slater later apologised to Dravid at the end of the day’s play and got away with just a warning from ICC match referee Cammie Smith.

SYDNEY 2008

The nadir of Indo-Australian relations in a controversy forever known as, Monkeygate.

Harbhajan Singh was accused of calling Andrew Symonds “a monkey” after the all-rounder confronted him for touching bowler Brett Lee.

Harbhajan was banned for three matches for racial abuse but a BCCI appeal saw the sanction rescinded. Unfortunately for Symonds his Test career never really recovered as captain Ricky Ponting later claimed his team-mate felt he had been given a lack of support from Cricket Australia in challenging Harbhajan and the BCCI.

Anil Kumble also complained about Australia’s conduct during the match claiming they were not acting in “the spirit of the game” over appeals for catches.

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Ashwin breaks another record

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Ashwin has been an invaluable asset to the Indian Test team.

India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin became the quickest bowler to register 25 five-wicket hauls in Test cricket on day four during the second Test between India and Australia at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru.

Ashwin got to the mark in just his 47th Test, comfortably beating the previous record which was held by New Zealand legend Sir Richard Hadlee who had got there in 62 Test matches.

The Tamil Nadu spinner’s 25th five-for came as he recorded bowling figures of 6/41 to guide India to a famous 75-run win over Australia on Tuesday.

ASHWIN'S TEST RECORD

  • Matches: 47
  • Wickets: 269
  • Average: 24.79
  • Five-wicket hauls: 25

During the match, Ashwin also became the fifth most successful Indian bowler in Test cricket – having taken 269 wickets in the longest format of the game now.

Having got past Bishan Singh Bedi’s haul of 266 wickets, only Anil Kumble [619], Kapil Dev [434], Harbhajan Singh [417] and Zaheer Khan [311] stand ahead of the 30-year-old now.

Ashwin also became the fourth [and quickest] bowler to pick up 200 Test wickets in India. In 30 home Tests, he has 202 wickets at an average of 21.99.

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India should shrug off DRS issue & celebrate Test win

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Team India celebrate the fall of Steven Smith's wicket on Day 4.

A series involving India and Australia has never been short on drama, entertainment and controversy, and what happened yesterday between Virat Kohli and Steven Smith at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore was just another new chapter added to what is already a very thick book.

Batting in the second innings yesterday, Smith was trapped leg before wicket by Umesh Yadav. The batsman walked up to the non-striker Peter Handscomb to get his opinion.

The two discussed something and Smith then looked towards the dressing room with an upward nod of his head, clearly asking the question whether he should ask for the Decision Review System (DRS) or not.

Now, the ICC rules on seeking DRS categorically state that the only consultation a batsman can have is with the non-striker.

The official Rules state: “If the umpires believe that the captain or batsman has received direct or indirect input emanating other than from the players on the field, then they may, at their discretion, decline the request for a Player Review. In particular, signals from the dressing room must not be given.”

What Smith did was definitely against the spirit of cricket, which purists will vouch for, is a lot more serious offence than misdemeanors like excessive appealing and sledging.

However, if Kohli was trying to imply his Australian counterpart is a cheat, then that won’t be correct either.

Without trying to question Kohli’s argument that this was the third time the Indians had caught the Australians – the previous two occasions had gone unnoticed by me at least – there were at least two instances just before Smith’s, which proves the Aussie captain is not a serial offender.

Just before his own decision, Smith was at the non-striker’s end when the visitors lost David Warner and Shaun Marsh – both leg before to Ravichandran Ashwin and Yadav respectively.

In both cases, the batsmen walked to Smith to ask whether they should go for the DRS. And both times, Smith did not look up to the dressing room for help.

Smith blamed it on a “brain fade”, and let’s leave it at that for the time being, and instead celebrate one of the greatest victories in recent times for India.

What seemed downright impossible after the first day, when they were bowled out for 189, became a possibility when Indian bowlers restricted Australia to 237-6 and eventually to 276 all out on day three.

That really was the most crucial phase of the match because the visitors needed to score big in their first innings, considering their second innings would be the fourth on a pitch that was causing immense problems with variable bounce.

Despite the collapse Tuesday, when the last six wickets fell for 26 runs and threatened to undo all the good work of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane, the Indian bowling and fielding rose to the occasion and sealed a memorable win.

It was almost like that famous win in Kolkata way back in 2001 when Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman put together a 376-run partnership after India were asked to follow on.

The all-conquering Australian team under Steve Waugh, which had won the first Test in Mumbai, lost the second Test and never recovered from the shock.

They then lost the third and final Test in Chennai to lose the series 2-1. What happened in Bangalore yesterday could well spell out a 3-1 series win for the hosts.

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