India-Australia Test series are hotly contested affairs and it's inevitable that such a situation tempers will flare up. Both sides share a healthy rivalry and controversies have become a part and parcel of the various series between the two teams. Yet again, one controversy threatens to mar the contest. Now it remains to be seen if the two sides can move on. Let's see how the controversy erupted and what form the monster has taken so far...
It was the 21st over of the Australian second innings, with the visitors on 73/3. They eventually collapsed to 112 to hand India a 75-run victory at Bangalore. Australian captain Steven Smith was trapped LBW by pacer Umesh Yadav and having already blown a DRS call, involving David Warner, the Australians were in a fix on whether to go for another referral. Smith first turned to the non-striker's end - Peter Handscomb - to seek an opinion within the mandated 15 seconds. But sparks flew when the umpires noticed that the batsman had turned towards the dressing room as well to get a clue. The on-field officials immediately intervened to stop Smith but matters came to a head when Indian skipper Virat Kohli too joined the discussion, leading to an exchange between him and the rival captain. Smith and Kohli had a brief but charged-up exchange of words before the former walked back to the pavilion. Rules pertaining to the usage of DRS clearly state that "signals from dressing room must not be given".
Australia captain Steve Smith admitted to have erred in seeking help from his dressing room after being adjudged leg-before in the second innings of the second Test. He explained what happened with his dismissal. 'I got hit on the pad and looked down to Petey [Handscomb, the non striker] and said, 'look up there', and I turned around and said, 'what do you reckon?' [to Handscomb], Smith said. 'It was a bit of a brain fade on my behalf and I should not have done that,' he added.
Indian skipper Virat Kohli lashed out at Smith in the post-match press conference. He was in no mood to relent and claimed that this was not the first time the Australians had sought dressing room instructions on DRS calls. "I can only say, if it happens more than twice, it's not brain fade," he said. Kohli claimed that he had seen them wait for the green signal from their dressing room at least on two previous occasions in the match. "I have seen it twice while batting. I have seen their players looking upstairs (dressing room). I told the umpires, this had to stop. I don't want to mention the word but it falls in that bracket. I would never do something like that on the cricket field," he added.
BCCI too came out in support of Kohli and his boys in the debate by taking a dig at Smith on Twitter. BCCI took a dig at the 27-year-old visiting skipper for trying to get help from the Australian dressing room. It tweeted, "DRS - Dressing room review system? Smith tries to get some suggestions from the dressing room for a review
The Indian board issued a statement throwing its weight behind Virat Kohli on Wednesday, describing the home captain as a "mature and seasoned cricketer" whose "conduct on the field has been exemplary". "The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), after due deliberation and seeing the video replays of the episode, steadfastly stands with the Indian cricket team and its captain Mr Virat Kohli," the board said. "Mr Kohli's action was supported by ICC Elite Panel Umpire Mr Nigel Llong who rushed in to dissuade Mr Steve Smith from taking recourse to inappropriate assistance."
Former India cricketers like VVS Laxman, Sunil Gavaskar and Sourav Ganguly have slammed Steve Smith and demanded an inquiry into the fiasco. Former Australian captains Steve Waugh and Michael Clarke too have criticised Smith, though more mildly.
Match referee Chris Broad allegedly denied India skipper Virat Kohli's claim that the Aussies had done it before and it had been brought to his attention. He reportedly told the Australian media after the fourth day's play that the only time umpires were aware of Australians looking up to the box during a review call was the Smith incident. But this comment could land him in trouble since as per the ICC rules, the match referee isn't supposed to discuss any issue with the media without the official body's consent.
Australia batsman Peter Handscomb today admitted his fault in suggesting skipper Steve Smith to seek inputs from the dressing room after being adjudged leg-before off Umesh Yadav on the fourth day of the second Test, which India won by 75 runs. Post-midnight, it was Handscomb, who took to twitter to defend his captain and take the blame for what Smith has termed as a "brain fade". Handscomb said he did not know the rules pertaining to DRS referral. "I referred smudga to look at the box... my fault and was unaware of the rule. Shouldn't take anything away from what was an amazing game!," Handscombe wrote on his official twitter page.
Australia captain Steve Smith is a "role model" and allegations that he and his team flouted the rules when deciding whether to review decisions during the second test against India are "outrageous", Cricket Australia (CA) said on Wednesday. "I find the allegations questioning the integrity of Steve Smith, the Australian team and the dressing room, outrageous," CA chief executive James Sutherland said in a statement. "Steve is an outstanding cricketer and person, and role model to many aspiring cricketers and we have every faith that there was no ill-intent in his actions. "We reject any commentary that suggests our integrity was brought into disrepute or that systemic unfair tactics are used, and stand by Steve and the Australian cricketers who are proudly representing our country," he added. Australia coach Darren Lehmann denied his team had repeatedly sought dressing room assistance on reviews. "Never, ever, ever," Lehmann said. "Very surprised to hear that, but it's their opinion." "He (Kohli) has his opinion and we have ours, but at the end of the day, we play the game the right way... We've never done any of that, so we'll just get on with the next game."
Ravichandran Ashwin took a dig at Steve Smith's controversial move to seek dressing room advice for a DRS referral in the second Test against India, calling it "an Under-10 game" tactic. Stating that the incident reminded him of his junior cricket days, Ashwin said: "Steven Smith actually turned back and asked the dressing room if he could take a review. That is completely unheard of. The last time I thought that to happen was in an Under-10 game, when my coach used to suggest where point fielders and cover fielders used to stand. "It was really surprising. I have a lot of respect for Steven Smith, but that was very, very surprising," Ashwin said while speaking to his team-mate Cheteshwar Pujara in a 'bcci.tv' video.
ICC says it will not be taking any action against Virat Kohli and Steve Smith as charges were not laid. "No charges have been laid against any player under the ICC Code of Conduct following the second Test match between India and Australia in Bengaluru," the ICC said in a statement. "Specifically in relation to Steve Smith and Virat Kohli, the ICC has considered both incidents in the context of this match and concluded it will be taking no further action against either player." ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said they would encourage both teams to focus their energies on the third Test in Ranchi next week.
The Australian media likened the controversy to the infamous 'Monkeygate' incident from Sydney Test in 2008, which soured relations between the teams for a number of years. Twitterati put the blame squarely on Steve Smith. While one compared the Aussie skipper with Tamil Nadu's AIADMK leader VKShashikala, another likened the incident to the infamous underarm ball by Chappel versus the Kiwis. Most expressed disappointment with the Australian captain's behaviour and felt he deserved punishment.
During Australia's first innings on Day 2, members of the Indian dressing room caught signals being made from the middle to their Oz counterparts next door, prompting captain Virat Kohli to warn on-field umpires about it. It all started with the dismissal of Mitchell Marsh during Australia's first innings. At the stroke of tea on the second day of the Bangalore Test, the younger Marsh was trapped leg before wicket by Ishant Sharma for a duck in Australia's first innings. Marsh did not review the decision but the Indian support staff noticed that some signals were made from the middle. Team India then decided to keep a close watch on such incidents.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Cricket Australia (CA) at a joint meeting on Thursday night decided to call a truce in the ongoing DRS row and move ahead with the Border-Gavaskar series. The decision was arrived on by BCCI CEO Rahul Johri and Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland at their meeting at the Indian cricket board's headquarters in Mumbai. The two boards released a joint statement which read: "BCCI and CA have resolved to restore focus on the ongoing series amidst the increased attention towards issues which have emanated during the course of the 2nd Test match in Bangalore."