On the conditions of anonymity, a BCCI source revealed that Indian pacer Mohammed Siraj faced racist chants from a particular section of the crowd at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG); he was called a 'Brown Dog' and a 'Big Monkey'.
The source claimed that even Indian speedster Jasprit Bumrah received abusive words from a few spectators in the SCG crowd. Team India lodged a complaint regarding the same to match referee David Boon after the end of Day 3.
However, Mohammed Siraj continued to hear racist chants while fielding on the boundary on Day 4. During the 86th over of Australia's second innings, the 26-year-old complained to the on-field umpires about the same.
Speaking to PTI, the BCCI source explained what the umpires had told the Indian team after Mohammed Siraj complained about the alleged racism he faced.
"Siraj was referred to as 'Brown Dog' and 'Big Monkey' both of which are racist slurs. The matter was immediately brought to the notice of on-field umpires. They were constantly abusing Bumrah too," the BCCI source said.
The source continued:
"Actually, the players didn't want to lose focus during the proceedings and decided that the matter would be reported only after the day's play was over. However, the umpires have told us that the moment anything of that nature happens, the players should report immediately."
Cricket Australia apologised to Mohammed Siraj and the Indian team for the SCG crowd's behaviour
After Mohammed Siraj complained to the on-field umpires, play was halted for about eight minutes on Day 4. The New South Wales police began to take note of who exactly hurled the alleged racist slurs at the pacer.
Six spectators were caught hold of and were asked to leave the SCG immediately. They are now in the custody of the New South Wales police and are subject to further investigation.
Cricket Australia have launched an official inquiry into the matter and apologised to the Indian team for the abuse they received from some of the spectators. The visitors have been assured that a proper investigation will take place, and if the accused are found guilty, they will be handed a strict punishment.
Many current and former players spoke out in support of Mohammed Siraj and are hopeful that the 26-year-old will get justice.
Australia are, however, in the driver's seat to take a 2-1 lead in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, as Team India ended Day 4 on 98-2 while chasing an improbable target of 407 runs.
The visitors' most experienced batsmen, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane, are at the crease, which gives Team India some hope of saving the game. If the visitors manage to hold on to a draw, it will be no less than a morale-boosting 'victory', especially as the likes of Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja sustained injuries in the first innings.Published 10 Jan 2021, 17:16 IST