Smith loses his cool, targets Vijay

Seeing the contest slip out of their grip, especially during the Ravindra Jadeja-Wriddhiman Saha 96-run partnership that gave India a sound footing in the game even though the lead was a mere 32 runs, the Australians indulged in gamesmanship to try and rattle the Indians.

Australia's captain Steve Smith called Murali Vijay a cheat.   -  AP

The Australians were at it again. Having managed to exercise some control over the Indian camp on the first two days they lost little time in showcasing their ugly side on the field here on Monday.

Seeing the contest slip out of their grip, especially during the Ravindra Jadeja-Wriddhiman Saha 96-run partnership that gave India a sound footing in the game even though the lead was a mere 32 runs, the Australians indulged in gamesmanship to try and rattle the Indians.

Incensed at Murali Vijay claiming a catch off Josh Hazlewood at second slip, the Australian skipper Steve Smith, with the advantage of the replay showing the ball being grassed, was seen mouthing a cuss word (lip read as F…..g Cheat).

The “brain fade” architect of the Bangalore Test was only letting his frustrations out with the abominable assessment of Vijay’s claim. His act of looking to the dressing room for a quick prompt for a DRS referral may have been `sporting’ or “brain fade” as he claimed but what of his vitriol from the dressing room today when third umpire Chris Gaffaney ruled the catch to be illegal.

 

The Indians had taken off for the dressing room, with Vijay sprinting to be ready to open the second innings, when Llong’s decision came and the camera panned on the Australian skipper giving vent to his frustration of facing the prospects of losing the series which they had begun well with a 333-run win in the first Test at Pune. India, with ten wickets in hand, needs 87 runs on Tuesday to clinch the series.

Speaking on the incident, the Australian batting coach and former England batsman Graeme Hick, said, “I haven’t seen that part of it but I was watching it on – we have our own little pads there watching it and the ball definitely touched the ground. I have not seen anything or heard anything of that, so until I do, I am not going to comment on it. That’s for other people to comment on, not me.”

When persisted, Hick observed, “I mean having fielded in slips and close to the bat, sometimes you're not a 100% sure. He would've felt that go 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.”

Hick concluded, “At times, this series has been a little bit heated, but I think this game has been played in very good spirit and he (Vijay) obviously thought he had a clean catch.”

The third day’s play had seen a running exchange between Jadeja and the Australians with wicketkeeper Mathew Wade in the forefront. But Jadeja, not the one to be flustered, carried on and celebrated his performance with a sword dance.

Amidst all the acrimony there was a pleasant moment when Glenn Maxwell, in a wonderful show of spirit, walked up to check if Cheteshwar Pujara was fine after being hit by his shot at short-leg. They smiled and returned to the game, a stark contrast to what transpired the entire day.