"Hit me here" Ishant Sharma (Right) is saying to Dhammika Prasad © AFP
“Hit me here,” Ishant Sharma (Right) seems to be telling Dhammika Prasad © AFP

Apart from few odd incidents, we have been used to see smiling faces and benevolence on the cricket field whenever India and Sri Lanka have played each other. However during the post-tea session on Day 4 of the third Test at Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC), things heated up when Dhammika Prasad and Ishant Sharma clashed with each other. Sandipan Banerjee writes more on that ugly spat.

Thanks to being close to the equator, Sri Lanka always witnesses high temperature with a high percentage of humidity. August 31, the penultimate day of the ongoing three match series, was also a typically hot and humid day at Colombo. But at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC), the venue for the decisive third and final Test, things heated up even more when Ishant Sharma and Dhammika Prasad, pacers representing India and Sri Lanka respectively, took each other on. READ: Did Ishant Sharma and Dhammika Prasad really cross a line?

From the start, the three-Test series has had lots of emotions associated with it, especially with Kumar Sangakkara bidding farewell to international cricket. Until Day Four of the third Test, the series witnessed an encouraging spirit of sportsmanship. However, in the post-tea session on Monday, the scenario changed completely. READ: Ishant Sharma must learn to be consistent

It was the 76th over of India’s second innings. The last pair was at the crease. Ravichandran Ashwin was fighting hard to take India’s lead close to 400 and bat Sri Lanka out of the match. At the other other end, Ishant was giving him company with his grafting batting skills. The drama unfolded when Prasad kept bowling bouncers at Ishant and then staring at him. Ishant ducked the bouncers easily and glared back. The Sri Lankan pacer lost his cool. It was long hot day at the office for Prasad, who bowled his heart out for his team. It was getting too much for Prasad. Both gave each other a long stare. READ: Kusal Perera, Rangana Herath fight to prevent a fatal slide for Sri Lanka on the third day of third Test in Colombo

Definitely here they are not talking about their last holiday destination © AFP
It is not likely that Ishant Sharma (left) and Dhammika Prasad are talking about their last holiday destination © AFP

The third ball was another bouncer, umpire Nigel Llong immediately called it a no ball. Ishant pushed the next ball away for a single and while running towards the other end, hit himself on the helmet repeatedly while looking at Prasad, as if he was telling him, “Hit me on my head if you can!” From a few glares and stares the incident slowly turned out to be an ugly spat. Ishant and Prasad were seen having a heated argument. Dinesh Chandimal also joined them from slip. He brushed Ishant on his shoulder and even Ashwin looked annoyed with it. READ: Sri Lanka’s batting woes — scary and disturbing

Finally, the two on-field umpires took control of the situation and had a word with captain Angelo Mathews. Prasad dismissed Ashwin and ended India’s innings in that same eventful eight-ball over. Even then there came a bizarre scene. After the fall of India’s last wicket, Ishant sprinted towards the dressing room, to get changed and ready to return to bowl. It looked as if Dhammika followed him in what looked like a full sprint. Whether or not it was to continue his chat or for another reason remains unknown. READ: KL Rahul has talent, but lacks the consistency needed for Test cricket

Before the start of Sri Lanka’s innings, umpires had a long chat with Virat Kohli. But the tempers were bound to continue to rise and it did when Ishant dismissed Upul Tharanga in the very first over. In the last game, Ishant was fined 65 percent of his match fees for sending off batsmen, but he hardly cared about it when he got rid of Chandimal as well in his fourth over. It took a conversation involving both Mathews and Kohli to calm Ishant down. The tension finally came under control when in the post-match press conference Rohit Sharma said that Ishant and Prasad had tea together after the end of  the day’s play. READ: Cheteshwar Pujara’s century could push Rohit Sharma out

(Sandipan Banerjee is a reporter at CricketCountry. Cricket has been the biggest passion for him since his childhood. So, when it came to choosing his career, he chose to turn his passion into his profession. Apart from cricket he likes mountain trekking, river rafting, and photography. His twitter handle is @im_sandipan)