India and Australia are one of the fiercest rivals in cricket. While Australia have been the world champions on five occasions, India have been their most formidable contenders to date. Over the years, the sides have engaged in heated matches, which included some controversies too.
When it comes to India and Australia, an intense rivalry is a must, owing to the rich differences and similarities between the two. While Australia are the most successful team in the sport, India have the most talented squad, besides having the most fan following all over the world.
The two sides are scheduled to renew their rivalry, as India travel Down Under for a complete tour, starting November 27. While fans are excited about the competition again, they would be curious to see if the tour generates any fresh controversy.
The history between the two teams has been epic, as there have been quite some controversial moments, starting for sledging to even racial abuse and poor umpiring. On the same note, we take a look at the five most contentious moments of this classic battle.
The infamous Sydney Test
We begin the list with the most controversial match between the two, ever played. It was in 2008 when the sides were playing a Test in Sydney. Trailing 0-1 in the series, India were giving a tough fight to the hosts, as the latter were reduced to 134/6, batting first. Thereon, the umpires, Steve Bucknor and Mark Benson came up with the most horrible umpiring in their career, giving as many as nine wrong decisions. The umpires were so naive that they almost did what Australian skipper Ricky Ponting asked them to do. It drew the flak of Indian fans and management, while critics too slammed the umpires, besides hitting the International Cricket Council (ICC) for being so complacent. India eventually lost the match.
It was one of the highlights of the Sydney Test when Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh was alleged for racially abusing Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds, by calling him a monkey. He underwent a trial by the ICC, where he was found guilty of saying something offensive, but was not racial, which was clearly misunderstood by the Australians, as Harbhajan had said it in Hindi. Consequently, he was banned for the following Test in Perth, during which the Indians ripped apart the hosts.
It was during the 2001 tour by Australia when Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar were brutally hitting the visitors’ bowling attack in the opening Test, in Mumbai. After Dravid had pulled a shot, that landed just short of Michael Slater, a war followed. While Slater was confident that he had claimed the catch cleanly, replays showed otherwise. Frustrated Slater went to Dravid and exchanged a few words, along with Sachin Tendulkar. Nonetheless, both men did the talking with their bat. After the match, Slater said, “Sledging Rahul Dravid was one of the mistakes of my life. He did not lose his cool even when I was hurling abuses at him. I could not stomach the fact that he was single-handedly demolishing the best team in the world. When the rage wore out on me, I realized that I was an animal and he was a gentleman. He won my heart instantly.”
Gautam Gambhir and Shane Watson go at it
It was in 2008 during the return tour by Australia, both the teams were at it again. During a Test in Bangalore, opener Gambhir was all guns blazing. Meanwhile, Australian all-rounder Shane Watson was having a hard time with the ball, trying to get rid of him. Consequently, he decided to play mind games and sledge him in the process. After Watson had done so on a few occasions, Gambhir decided to give it back, as while taking a run, he elbowed the former. It resulted in an intense war of words between the two teams, as umpires helped in calming the situation down. Nonetheless, ICC handed a one-Test ban to Gambhir for his actions.
Virat Kohli and James Faulkner take it to each other
Virat Kohli is one of the most aggressive batsmen, as well as the captain of Team India, known for his bold attitude. So was all-rounder James Faulkner for Australia. It was in 2016 when during an ODI in Melbourne, Kohli was playing a composed innings. Struggling to get him out, Faulkner decided to have a go at the skipper, asking him, “Why don’t you go after my bowling, mate?”. Kohli was strong enough to reply, “I have smashed you enough in my life, don’t waste your energy. Go and bowl.” Although the thing ended there itself, as India won the match, it once again proved that sledging is Australia’s means to get out of their misery.
Last Updated 19, Nov 2020, 5:22 PM