New Delhi: A look at five flash-points between India and Australia as the two teams gear up to play the first Test in Pune from Thursday.
Sunny's Almighty Strop
(Image Credits: The Cricketer International)
Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar suffered a massive meltdown during the 1981 Melbourne Test when he threatened to forfeit the match after being given out lbw on 70 off Australian great Dennis Lillee.
The batting legend, nicknamed ‘Sunny’, was adamant that the ball had hit his bat first and remonstrated with both Lillee and the umpire before reluctantly starting his walk from the crease while shaking his head vehemently.
He instructed bemused fellow opener Chetan Chauhan to leave with him and the pair headed for the boundary. A swift intervention from then Indian manager Shahid Durrani prevented Chauhan from leaving the field which would have resulted in the visitors conceding the match and incurring a suspension. Gavaskar later said he regretted his ‘inexcusable behaviour’.
Tendulkar Out 'Shoulder Before'
(Image Credits: Getty Images)
Indian fans still rage about the umpiring decision during the 1999 Adelaide Test that saw the great Sachin Tendulkar dismissed effectively for ‘shoulder before wicket’. The Little Master — who stands at 5ft 4in (1.65m) — attempted to duck a Glenn McGrath bouncer, only for the ball to keep low and hit his left shoulder.
Home umpire Daryl Harper had no hesitation in giving Tendulkar out lbw. Some replays suggested the ball may have clipped the top of the stumps, but most were inconclusive. Tendulkar was out for a duck and the reliably-partisan Indian media went apoplectic. The ever-gracious Tendulkar played down the decision, merely saying his dismissal was a bit disappointing.
Ganguly Keeps Waugh Waiting
Former India captain Sourav Ganguly so enraged his opposite number Steve Waugh during Australia’s 2001 tour of India that the Australian skipper accused him of ‘lack of respect’. Waugh was furious that Ganguly kept turning up late for the toss.
Waugh wrote in his autobiography that he was ‘wound up’ by the left-handed batsman's ‘continued petulance’. Ganguly, nicknamed the Prince of Kolkata for the air of superiority that he carried on and off the field, initially maintained that his tardiness had been a mistake.
Years later though he revealed that he had turned up a few minutes late on purpose each time to teach the Aussies a lesson for their rude behaviour.
The 2008 New Year Test in Sydney was undoubtedly the lowest point in India-Australia cricket relations. With tempers frayed because of a string of questionable umpiring decisions and on-field altercations, the ‘Monkeygate’ scandal erupted — almost causing the tour to be called off. Australia all-rounder Andrew Symonds accused spinner Harbhajan Singh of calling him a ‘monkey’.
Harbhajan, who denied any wrong-doing, was suspended for three matches for the alleged racist slur. The ban was overturned when India threatened to quit the tour, claiming he had been wrongly accused. The allegations prompted India captain Anil Kumble to say that only one team was playing in the spirit of the game.
Australia won the match and went on to take the series 2-1.
Kohli Shows the Finger
Four years after ‘Monkeygate’ came the ‘Fingergate’ when a young and angry Virat Kohli let the rowdy Sydney Test crowd get to him. Kohli was fielding in the deep when he was on the receiving end of some unpleasant chants from the famously vocal fans and responded by flashing the middle finger.
It was caught on camera and Kohli, now captain, was fined 50 per cent of his match fee for bringing the game into disrepute. He later defended his response on Twitter: "I agree cricketers don't have to retaliate. what (sic) when the crowd says the worst things about your mother and sister. the worst I've heard."
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