India defend Ravi Jadeja's mystery act as cricket world divided over footage

The Indian spinner sparked a debate after footage emerged on day 1 of the Test against Australia.

India spinner Ravi Jadeja (pictured left) interacting with Mohammed Siraj (pictured far left) and (pictured right) Jadeja talking.
India spinner Ravi Jadeja had defended his actions to the ICC on day 1 against the Aussies when Jadeja appeared to take a substance off Mohammed Siraj and put it on his finger before bowling. (Images: Fox Sports)

The Indian team have moved to defend the footage that saw Ravi Jadeja appear to rub a substance on his finger, while handling the ball, after former captains of their nation Tim Paine and Michael Vaughan questioned the images on day 1 of the first Test in Nagpur. Australian selectors sprung a shock in India for the first Test after handing young 22-year-old spinner Todd Murphy his debut, while dropping in-form batter Travis Head.

And things didn't get off to a good start for the series after Pat Cummins' team were skittled for 177 in 64 overs, before India raced to 1-76 at stumps at VCA Stadium. However, there was plenty of attention on the interaction between star India spinner Jadeja and teammate Mohammed Siraj.

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Broadcast vision captured Jadeja taking something out of Siraj's hand on Thursday. After the exchange with Siraj, Jadeja then rubbed his hands and left index finger around the ball with an unidentified substance.

Several Indian media reports have said the substance was an ointment Jadeja was applying to a sore finger. India Today reporter Rahul Rawat reported that since Jadeja has been out of the game for five months with an injury, he was applying pain-relief ointment.

When the footage was put to former Australian Test captain Paine, he labelled the interaction as 'interesting'. Former England Test captain Michael Vaughan also weighed-in on the debate. "What is it he is putting on his spinning finger? Never ever seen this ...."

Debate raged on social media with plenty suggesting Jadeja wasn't doing anything wrong. The Cricket Podcast joked that the 'magic potion' had tricked Australian players that they couldn't bat after such a dismal performance.

ESPN CricInfo reported that Jadeja told the umpires about the ointment after being shown footage of the incident by ICC referee Andy Pycroft. Australia reportedly haven't lodged a complaint.

Jadeja proved the key man, starring with figures of 5-47 to put India in the box seat after a commanding opening day of the Border-Gavaskar series. Under the ICC's Test conditions, players are banned from using an artificial substance on the ball.

Australia skittled on Day 1 in Nagpur

While Australia were hoping for a good start to their Test series, the team's vulnerabilities facing the turning ball were badly exposed as they lost eight wickets to spin. A difficult pitch to bat on it may be, but it was still Australia's lowest first-innings total since 2016 as they chase their first series win in India for 19 years.

Left-arm spinner Jadeja, playing his first Test since July, claimed the key wickets of Marnus Labuschagne (49) and Steve Smith (37) as Australia's hopes of posting a respectable total in the first Test all but died with their dismissals.

David Warner (pictured) walks off after being bowled.
David Warner (pictured) and the Australian team were skittled for 177 against India. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

To make matters worse, Indian captain Rohit Sharma (56 no) made a statement and belted Cummins for 13 runs off the first over in an ominous start to the home side's innings.

Cummins and Scott Boland, in his first Test outside of Australia, are the visitors' only quicks as selectors opted to pick debutant spinner Todd Murphy (1-13) to partner star veteran Nathan Lyon.

with AAP

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