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5 of the worst fights from past India-Australia clashes

The ‘Monkey-gate’ scandal left a sour taste for fans worldwide

With India’s home series against Australia about a week away, the hype has already taken centre-stage for the four-match Test series. Both teams, over the years, have been a part of some riveting contests on the 22 yards.

While straining every sinew to outplay each other, the teams don’t back off from glaring vigorously at each other or intensifying the atmosphere through some animated altercations.

Australia has always tended to get under the skins of their rivals and has tried to take an upper hand in the series even before its commencement by playing their infamous mind games. As we move towards the first Test on the 23rd of February, we look back at some of the biggest fights in the history of India versus Australia contests.


#5 The Monkey-gate saga

It was a day which stirred the cricketing fraternity with one of the ugliest spat between the two cricketing giants. The second Test of India’s 2007-08 tour of Australia in Sydney had several facets etched into it other than just cricket.

Harbhajan Singh was alleged of racially abusing Andrew Symonds by addressing him as a monkey, which didn’t go down well with the Kangaroos. It was followed by an array of incidents that included handing the off-spinner a ban of three matches and the Indian team’s protest of boycotting the tour if the ban wasn’t lifted.

In his autobiography launch Playing It My Way, Sachin Tendulkar revealed the Indian team’s decision to boycott the tour if the Indian off spinner was banned. Former Australian wicketkeeper-batsman Adam Gilchrist accused the ‘Little Master’ of not sticking to his comments on his role during the event and it made things turn for the worse. The ban was eventually lifted and the series went smoothly thereafter.

#4 When Ponting turned umpire

Ponting telling Sourav Ganguly that he had to walk back to the pavilion

As if the monkey-gate controversy wasn’t enough, the Sydney Test was marred by yet another dispute, while India was batting. Sourav Ganguly was looking ominous after mustering a half-century and had the Aussie attack by the scruff of the neck.

Soon after reaching his half-century, ‘Dada’ was foxed by an out-swinger by Brett Lee that went straight into the hands of Michael Clarke, standing in slips. Replays revealed that the catch wasn’t quite a clean one, but Ricky Ponting thought otherwise.

He was pretty sure that the catch was clean and hence raised his index finger to give his decision for the outside edge. Ganguly, afterwards, slammed Ponting by mincing no words in saying that it’s the umpire’s duty to give a verdict and not the Australian skipper’s.

Even Anil Kumble slammed Ponting and his boys by remarking that “only one team had played in the spirit of the game”.

#3 The elbowing

Shane Watson and Gautam Gambhir got into an argument

Later in 2008, it was the Kangaroos’ turn to travel India for a four-match Test series and the temperature soared up quite expectedly. It was the third Test of the series being contested at the Feroz Shah Kotla and the two teams were involved in yet another brawl.

The incident panned out on day one of the match when Gautam Gambhir was attempting to go for a second run. When he was running the first one, Shane Watson seemed to have sledged him, which might have provoked the man from Delhi.

During the second round, Gambhir elbowed Watson for which he was slapped with a one-match ban under Level 2 offence of not playing the game within the spirit and laws. Gambhir appealed against the suspension, the ban was upheld and the Indian had to miss the fourth Test even after notching up a double ton at his hometown.

#2 Michael Slater’s abuse

Michael Slater sledging Dravid during a Test match in 2001

Australia, under the leadership of Steve Waugh, was cantering through a purple patch by winning 15 Tests in a row. Apart from pinning opponents down, the Aussies never pulled back from getting into the nerves of their rivals by sledging them on the field.

It was the first Test of the historic series between India and Australia in 2001 at Mumbai and Australia added one more win to their winning streak by humbling India by 10 wickets to take the lead.

Nonetheless, quite characteristic of an India versus Australia clash, an on-field scuffle didn’t elude the contest. Rahul Dravid mistimed a pull shot that went into the hands of Michael Slater which was followed by an unpleasant tiff. Dravid was doubtful about the catch and refused to walk off, after which he was abused by Michael Slater.

Slater was later fined for this act and he had to apologise to Dravid for the exchange of hot words. For the game’s good, they patched up after the game.

#1 Kohli’s wave of honour

Kohli showing the Aussie crowd what he thinks of them

Rifts between cricketers are pretty regular, but bouts between a player and the crowd isn’t quite a common story in the cricketing arena. Nonetheless, during India’s tour of Australia in 2012, the world saw a clash between Virat Kohli and the Aussie crowd at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Sitting back and staying oblivious of external matters isn’t how Kohli plays the game and it wasn’t any different that day. The crowd went overboard with their celebrations and hurled abusive words at the current Indian skipper.

Kohli replied back at them by showing his middle finger and was later fined 50 percent of his match fees. Kohli admitted it as a wrongdoing on his part, but also mentioned that it’s hard to hold oneself back to abuses directed at one’s mother and sister.

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Edited by Staff Editor
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