Australia’s antics in the field on day five of the Sydney Test against India have sparked anger in the cricket world, while Sunil Gavaskar has stepped up his attack on captain Tim Paine.
Paine, Steve Smith and Matthew Wade came in for heavy criticism on Monday as the Aussies became frustrated with India’s resistance on a tense final day that resulted in a draw.
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Paine's antics on day five of the third Test, and those of some teammates, made headlines around the world, with Indian legend Gavaskar left fuming in commentary.
Stump microphones picked up some nasty barbs that Australia’s skipper, who has helped turn around the team’s image after the Cape Town cheating scandal, directed at India veteran Ravichandran Ashwin during the 122nd over of the stonewall.
Paine claimed “at least my teammates like me, dickhead” during the spat, also mocking Ashwin by asking “how many IPL teams wanted you, when you asked every single one of them to have you?”.
Paine dropped a catch during the following over, while Ashwin dragged his side to a draw despite a sore back.
Gavaskar, commentating at the time for Seven Network, slammed Paine for his “ridiculous” and “unnecessary” sledging.
The former opener, whose name adorns the trophy on the line during the fourth Test that starts on Friday, was even more critical while analysing Paine's poor finish to the tense Test for India Today.
“It was unbefitting of a captain of a national team to be talking about something other than cricket,” he said.
“You want to have a go at the opposition, you talk about their cricket.
“But when you talk about something else, it shows your frustration. It shows you are not able to bear the fact that the opposition is putting up a fight.
“The Indians had the last laugh. R Ashwin had the last laugh.
“I am not an Australian selector but his days as captain are numbered.”
Commentating On Fox Sports, former Test player Kerry O’Keeffe also took exception to Paine’s sledging.
“It’s not banter, it’s pointed,” O’Keeffe said.
Smith was also heavily criticised by Indian fans after he was seen removing the guard marks made on the crease by Rishabh Pant by scuffing his foot across the pitch.
“This is very, very poor,” former England captain Michael Vaughan said on Twitter of the Smith incident, while former India opener Virender Sehwag also didn’t take it well.
Wade was also seen mocking India’s injured players after being struck on the body a number of times while fielding at short leg, while he also feigned to run at Ashwin after one such instance.
“I mean, Wade’s just saying, look, I’m tough, I’m in here, I’ve been hit and I’m going to stand tall,” Aussie great Michael Slater said on Channel 7.
“You heard the batsman apologise for hitting him and he was making a step towards the batsman.
“I just think settle down, it’s a tough position. He is getting hit. I don’t go for this advancing towards the batsman when he is apologising for hitting you.”
Fans around the world were gobsmacked by Australia’s antics in the field, with some labelling them “disgraceful” and “shameful”.
Tim Paine defends incident with Ravi Ashwin
Earlier on Monday Paine was fined 15 per cent of his match fee after being found guilty of dissent, having appealed to standing umpire Paul Wilson for some “f***ing consistency” during the game.
Paine regretted his language in that instance but felt the byplay with Ashwin was a case of “no harm done”.
“They were wasting a bit of time, we were getting a bit frustrated. We let him know, he had a bit of say back,” he said.
“It's all part of the game.”
Gavaskar questioned the tactical nous of Paine, who dropped three catches on Monday, suggesting the 36-year-old helped India escape with a draw.
“If you allow the Indian team to bat 130-odd overs without getting wickets - this is a very good Australian attack,” he said.
“Everything could have made a difference.
“Paine was more interested in talking to the batsman rather than his field placing and bowling changes.
“So I won't be surprised if there is a change in the Australian captaincy after the series.
“He was a little bit disturbed, his concentration was not there after that little episode.”
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