Virat Kohli and Steve Smith row overshadows India Test win
Australia captain slammed after appearing to ask the dressing room for advice as cricket tour turns nasty
Australia's cricket tour of India is hotting up after the hosts mounted a stunning comeback to win the second Test and level the series. But Captain Virat Kohli all but accused his opposite number Steve Smith of cheating as tensions between the two teams boiled over.
Set 188 to win the match and take an unassailable lead in the series, Australia were bowled out for just 112, with spinner Ravichandra Ashwin taking six wickets.
It was a stunning turnaround for India, who were on the ropes after being dismissed for 189 on the first day of the match, but the Test may be remembered more for the bad blood between the two captains which came to a head when Smith appeared to ask the dressing room for advice after being given out LBW.
It has precipitated a "major row over ethics in the Australian cricket camp", says the Hindustan Times.
Although a batsman is within his rights to review a decision, he is not allowed to seek advice from off the field. But with the match on a knife-edge and Australia having already lost a review, Smith appeared to gesture to the team balcony as he weighed up his options.
Umpire Nigel Llong quickly realised what was going on and stepped in, ordering Smith from the field and intervening to stop a furious Kohli confronting his opposite number.
Afterwards Smith admitted he had suffered a "brain fade", but Kohli was less charitable. "They've been doing that for the last three days and this has to stop, because there's a line that you don't cross on the cricket field," he said. "I don't want to mention the word, but it falls in that bracket. I would never do something like that on the cricket field."
Asked if he meant "cheating", Kohli replied: "I didn't say that, you did." The Indian cricket board also got involved on Twitter.
There could be repercussions for both sides. "Both umpires took Kohli aside after the incident, giving him yet another talking to during what has been an incredibly spiteful Test," says The Guardian. "Smith and Kohli were involved in a handful of heated confrontations during the game. Players from both sides are likely to be hit with fines after a number of tense moments during the clash."
Smith and Kohli "squared off" in a "verbal stoush" during Australia's first innings, says Cricket.com.au. "It got to the point where fast bowler Ishant Sharma started mocking the visiting captain, to which Smith just replied with a wobble of the head."
There was more to come, says ABC. During India's crucial second innings, which set up the unlikely victory, "Kohli flirted with possible dissent" after being given out LBW and "initially refused to walk before trudging off the ground, pointing to the toe of his bat and shaking his head."
The two sides have a long history of bad blood and Australia's shock victory in the first Test, which ended India's four-year 20-match unbeaten run on home soil, has only heightened tensions.