Dharamsala: There seems to be no love lost between India and Australia players as visiting skipper Steve Smith on Monday appeared to have used cuss words against Murali Vijay after the home team opener claimed to have taken a catch that was deemed not clean.
The four-match series that will be remembered as much for its off-field controversies as on-field exploits, had its fair share of drama on the third day of the fourth and final Test here. At first, there were frayed tempers between Matthew Wade and Ravindra Jadeja after Glenn Maxwell’s dismissal and then Smith looked very upset when Vijay claimed Josh Hazlewood’s catch, which was later given not out by the TV umpire.
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The Hazlewood incident happened in the third ball of the 54th over when he edged one to Vijay in the slips. Convinced that he has taken it cleanly, Indian players started walking back to the pavilion and being an opener, Vijay rushed back to put his pads on. The TV umpire intervened after replays showed that the catch was not taken cleanly.
The Indian players were called back and Smith, who was in the Australian dressing room, looked displeased with Vijay’s quick run into the pavilion and was caught by television cameras mouthing the words “f****** cheat”. Smith was heard using the cuss word in a video uploaded by the Australian broadcaster.
When questions were asked by the Australian media on the incident, team batting coach Graeme Hick presented a dead bat. Asked if Hick was disappointed with Vijay, the former England batsman sounded sympathetic. “No, I mean having fielded in slips and close to the bat, sometimes, you are not a 100 percent sure. He would have felt that got into his fingers and felt that it was a clean catch.
If anything, once the batter or whoever maybe has gone for the review, yeah fair enough, maybe the fielder should stand around and wait. The processes are in place.” Hick said that despite the heated arguments, the series has been played in good spirit. “At times, this series has been a little bit heated, but I think this game has been played in very good spirit and he obviously thought he had a clean catch. It goes upstairs, come back and get on with the game.”
The incident took place in the 33rd over of Australia’s second innings after Maxwell was adjudged LBW by South African umpire Marais Erasmus.