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Virat Kohli is wrong: Lehmann, Sutherland

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 8/03/2017 Rob Forsaith

Darren Lehmann and James Sutherland have vehemently rejected Virat Kohli's allegations of systematic cheating in the second Test, with the coach making it clear he feels Australia hold the moral high ground after a series of bust-ups in Bangalore.

India captain Kohli claimed the visitors looked to their dressing room for guidance on whether to review decisions throughout the second Test, a tactic outlawed by the laws of the game.

Relations between the sides have soured following the acrimonious postscript to the hosts' 75-run win that levelled the four-Test series. Not since the 'monekygate' saga of 2008 has there been so much spite on and off the field in a Border-Gavaskar battle.

The only example of what Kohli claimed was common practice occurred on day four, when counterpart Steve Smith was trapped lbw with the game in the balance. It prompted the most heated of many fiery confrontations between the skippers.

"I find the allegations questioning the integrity of Steve Smith, the Australian team and the dressing room, outrageous," Cricket Australia chief executive Sutherland said, having been in the stands in Bangalore.

"We have every faith that there was no ill-intent in his (Smith's) actions.

"We reject any commentary that suggests our integrity was brought into disrepute or that systemic unfair tactics are used."

Former India skippers Sourav Ganguly, Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev called on the International Cricket Council (ICC) to investigate Australia, while Smith's predecessor Michael Clarke suggested there may be some merit to Kohli's sensational claim.

The ICC is yet to charge Kohli, Smith or any player for their roles in a tense Test - or the events that followed. However, the governing body still has the power to do so.

Kohli could potentially be booked by administrators for his press conference. David Warner was fined for "public criticism of, or inappropriate comment" in 2014, when he accused AB de Villiers of ball-tampering in a radio interview.

A contrite Smith called it a one-off brain fade, while coach Lehmann was "very surprised" to hear Kohli's allegations.

"Never, ever, ever," Lehmann said, when asked if he or other support staff have communicated with players regarding whether to review.

"He has his opinion and we have ours.

"We've never done any of that."

Lehmann has fired back at many antagonists in the past - be it as a player or coach.

But on this occasion he adopted a non-confrontational approach, also praising his charges for not matching Kohli's in-your-face aggression.

"Gone are the days when we used to be probably the other way, and I was part of that as an Australian side," Lehmann said.

"We've changed the way we want to play ... I'm pretty pleased with the way we do things now.

"I'm really proud of the way they went about it this game, even though we lost."

However, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Steve O'Keefe all gave Indian batsmen send-offs during the intense clash.

"That's every bowler isn't it, when they get a wicket," Lehmann said.

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