The ongoing India-Australia Test series might be only a day away from its conclusion, but the temper flare-ups between personnel from either camp just doesn't seem to be taking a break anytime soon.
Australian captain Steve Smith, along with his Indian counterpart Virat Kohli, have been the centres of attraction for the most part in the series so far. The rivalry between the two sides has only intensified with passage of time, and the run-ins and flare-ups between these two teams, which often spills outside the field as well, is perceived as one of the leading factors behind it.
In an incident that could very well spiral out of control later, Smith was caught on tape saying words that seemed like verbal abuse directed towards an Indian player during Australia's second innings on Day 3 of the fourth and final Test in Dharamsala.
A post by Australian journalist Ben Horne (of the Virat Kohli-Donald Trump fame) on microblogging website Twitter claimed the skipper was "captured by TV cameras mouthing 'f***ing cheat'", which was then backed up by a video clip provided by fellow Australian scribe Neroli Meadows.
— Neroli Meadows (@Neroli_M_FOX) March 27, 2017
The said incident took place in the 54th over of the Australian innings, when the visitors were tottering at 137/9. Vijay, standing at slip, claimed a low catch that came off an edge off Josh Hazlewood's bat, the wicket of which would have gone to Ravichandran Ashwin. While the Indians began to celebrate, the on-field umpires decided to go upstairs, with the soft signal being out. Replays however, revealed Vijay to have grassed the opportunity. It was then that the cameras panned to Smith in the dressing room, with the 27-year-old skipper expressing his dismay in his own way.
Hazlewood however, could not last longer than two balls after that delivery, getting trapped lbw by the wily off-spinner for a nine-ball duck.
Smith probably wasn't in the best of moods when the incident happened, having been dismissed for a lowly 17 (one short of the 500-run series aggregate) earlier in the innings, with the rest of the team collapsing to a meagre 137. It did not help that the visitors set a 106-run target, with KL Rahul and Murali Vijay getting the hosts closer to the target by 19 runs in the six overs that they batted in the remainder of the final session.