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12 ugliest India-Australia moments

India Today logo India Today 15/02/2017

The India vs Australia series has always been a fiercely fought between the two sides. Be it on-field or off-field, the players two sides have always given an avid cricket fan enough entertainment. A much-highlighted example of such a feud has been the Bhajji-Symmo spat leading to the 'Monkeygate' scandal.

Here are the highlights of all such on-field and off-field skirmishes between the players of the two sides.

Virat Kohli vs Mitchell Johnson

Virat Kohli unleashed a verbal barrage of his own in reply to what he claimed to be disrespectful comments coming from the Australians during India's tour Down Under in 2014-15. The Delhi lad accused the hosts of calling him a spoilt brat that apparently didn't go down well with the Indian batsman.

Kohli, who's never shy to express his emotions, targeted Australia's bowling spearhead Mitchell Johnson. The tensions simmered in the Melbourne Test when Kohli was struck by Johnson's throw after the Indian batsman had pushed it back towards the Australian bowler. Johnson's throw immediately brought down the right-hander and though the bowler immediately apologised for his actions, Kohli was clearly not amused.

Kohli and Johnson were engrossed in a heated argument until Umpire Richard Kettleborough intervened to calm the two players down.

Gavaskar vs Lillee

In Melbourne in 1981, Sunil Gavaskar had famously walked off the pitch with his opening wicket partner Chetan Chauhan in response to Aussie paceman Dennis Lillee's use of abusive language directed towards him after the latter had trapped him leg-before.

McGrath vs Sachin

During the first Test of the 1999-2000 series in Adelaide, a Glenn McGrath bouncer saw Sachin Tendulkar duck and even as the ball came and hit him on the shoulder. He was subsequently given leg-before by Australian umpire Daryl Harper leading to a raging controversy.

Dravid vs Slater

The 2001 Mumbai Test match saw Rahul Dravid play an unlikely pull shot that was taken inches off the ground by Michael Slater. Unconvinced Drived refused to leave the field and umpire S Venkatraghavan too gave him not out. The decision saw an incensed Slater argue with the umpire and abuse Dravid. Slater was later reprimanded for his conduct.

Ganguly's late arrival for toss

The 2001 series in India saw captain Sourav Ganguly repeatedly arrive late for toss. The move was vehemently criticised by Aussie skipper Steve Waugh, who in his autobiography 'Out of My Comfort Zone' stated that the Indian skipper was late as many as "seven times" during the series.

The Monkeygate scandal

The row over the alleged use of the word 'monkey' by Harbhajan Singh had nearly torpedoed India's tour of Australia during the Sydney Test in 2008.

Apparently Harbhajan Singh had said Teri Maa Ki, to Andrew Symonds, however, the Aussie mistook it as the 'big monkey' and that's what led to the Monkeygate scandal.

The matter reached a Sydney court and a disciplinary panel was set up to investigate the charges. Harbhajan was banned for three Tests, which was later revoked after the BCCI towed a stern line.

Kumble speaks out

The 2008 Sydney Test, which became infamous for 'Monkeygate' controversy, later saw India captain Anil Kumble say, "only one team was playing in the spirit of the game".

The statement came after what was the most bad-tempered match in the history of India-Australia cricket.

Zaheer vs Hayden

During the Mohali Test of the 2008 home series Harbhajan had dismissed Matthew Hayden but Zaheer Khan came close to the Australian opener and began celebrating in weird fashion. The pace spearhead was later fined 80 per cent of his match fee for poor on-field conduct.

Gambhir vs Watson

During the 2008 home series, a tense moment cropped up on the opening day of the Ferozshah Kotla Test when opener Gautam Gambhir and Australia all-rounder Shane Watson were involved in an on-field skirmish.

Gambhir, who appeared to have been provoked by Watson while he was taking his first run off the Aussie nudged the bowler when he crossed him while completing the second run.

Gambhir went on to score his maiden double-century, but was banned for the next Test.

Zaheer vs Ponting

During the 2010 home series Zaheer Khan and Ricky Ponting made sure that the spectators got their value for money in terms of spats.

Ponting, walking back after being run out during the first Test in Mohali, was needled by Zaheer. Miffed, he turned back towards Zaheer and a few words were exchanged. Fortunately, umpire Billy Bowden intervened and things came to a quick rest.

And the middle finger goes up

You can't expect India vs Australia series to get over without any incident. During the 2011-12 series, the second Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground saw just that when Virat Kohli showed his middle finger to the spectators after he had to hear some expletives from the stands even as the India bowlers struggled to contain the Aussie charge with their skipper Michael Clarke scoring a triple ton.

Later Ishant Sharma too was caught flipping in Perth. The incident happened off-field and so Sharma escaped without a fine being imposed on him.

Beer party on pitch...

A bizarre controversy erupted on the eve of the third Test at the WACA in Perth during India's 2011-12 tour of Down Under.

An Indian news channel filmed more than a dozen people - understood to be members of the ground staff - drinking, lying and walking on the pitch only hours before the match was scheduled to begin.

The video footage left Indian team management, and players stunned.

The TV commentators vented their anger and reported that Indian cricket officials were upset by the footage, claiming it was a major breach of protocol and fretting about possible damage to the pitch.

However, WACA chief executive Graeme Wood dismissed the issue calling it a "storm in a teacup".

He pointed out that curator Cameron Sutherland was completing final preparations for the match, and was joined by fellow staff for a few minutes in a Perth pre-Test tradition.

Photos: Australia vs India — Most memorable Tests

Nathan Lyon of Australia celebrates with teammates after he got the wicket of Virat Kohli of India during day five of the First Test match between Australia and India at Adelaide Oval on December 13, 2014 in Adelaide, Australia. India vs Australia: Most memorable Tests

Watch: Former captain Sourav Ganguly praises Virat Kohli

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