As if there was not enough drama in the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2016-17 between India and Australia, Australian skipper Steven Smith just added fuel to the fire. On the third day of the final Test between the two teams at Dharamsala, Smith lost his cool when his side was meekly surrendering in their second innings. A catch that Murali Vijay claimed he had taken but was actually a grassed one which triggered an ugly reaction from Smith. He was not happy with Vijay claiming for a catch and appeared to call him a f**king cheat on live television.

The incident happened when the last Australian pair of Josh Hazlewood and Matthew Wade was in the middle. Vijay, fielding at gully, seemed to have caught Hazlewood for the final wicket of Australia s second innings after he edged Ravichandran Ashwin. So sure was Vijay that he even sprinted towards the dressing room to pad up. However, the on-field umpires considered it for a referral and found out Vijay had actually dropped the catch. He was later called back.

Smith, who was in the Australian dressing room, was visibly unhappy with Vijay and was caught by television cameras mouthing the words f**king cheat as he stomped his way back to his seat.

 

As it turned out, Hazlewood was dismissed the same over, as Australia finished their second innings on 137, thus setting India a target of 106 to win. India ended the Day Three on 19 for no loss, needing just 87 to win with two full days play and all 10 wickets in hand.

Meanwhile, after the day s play, when questions were asked by the Australian media on the incident, team batting coach Graeme Hick presented a dead bat. Asked if Hick was disappointed with Vijay, the former England batsman sounded sympathetic. “No, I mean having fielded in slips and close to the bat, sometimes, you are not a 100 percent sure. He would have felt that got 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. The processes are in place.”

Hick said that despite the heated arguments, the series has been played in good spirit. “At times, this series has been a little bit heated, but I think this game has been played in very good spirit and he obviously thought he had a clean catch. It goes upstairs, come back and get on with the game.”

(With inputs from PTI)