Melbourne: The confrontation between Gautam Gambhir and Australian cricketers in the ongoing third Test in Kotla was played up by the Australian media, saying that it revived memories of the controversial series of last summer.
"The acrimony which almost destroyed last summer's Test series between Australia and India exploded again on the opening day of the third Test," the Australian reported. "It continued India's record as the worst behaved team in the world over the past decade."
A headline in Sydney Morning Herald screamed "Gambhir elbows Australia out of way".
In their previous duel Down Under, players of both sides were involved in a number of heated on-field exchnages which even put the tour in doubt.
There has not been too many on-field flare-ups in the first two matches in this series with the exception of Zaheer Khan giving an angry send-off to Matthew Hayden in Mohali for which the fast bowler was punished by the match referee Chris Broad.
Broad had spoken to both captains before the series, asking them to play in true spirit.
"Gambhir's second century in as many innings has been marred by a physical confrontation with Shane Watson and a heated exchange with Simon Katich which required intervention from umpire Billy Bowden. Bowden was forced to stand between Katich and Gambhir after the pair almost collided while Katich unsuccessfully attempted to field off his own bowling, blocking Gambhir's path," the report said.
Vice-captain Michael Clarke stepped in and twice attempted to drag Katich away as the verbal confrontation with Gambhir escalated.
Skipper Ricky Ponting also stepped in and at the end of the over umpire Bowden spoke to Ponting.
Both Gambhir and Katich can face action from the match referee, according to the report in the Australian. In the first incident, Gambhir pushed out his elbow and made contact with the all-rounder in the ribs as he was taking a second run just before tea.
This clearly annoyed Watson and his teammates, with a number running to reassure him, including Clarke.
"I did see it on replay. I'm pretty sure the match referee or whoever needs to have a look at that will have a look at that," Clarke said after play.
"Like the incident with Kat, it was important for all the players to make sure we get on with our game."
Gambhir though insisted that the nudge to Watson was not "deliberate".
Gambhir faces a charge under section 2.4 of the International Cricket Council's code of conduct for inappropriate and deliberate physical contact.
"Gambhir may be small and slender of build but there has been no meekness about his approach to the Australians. He has challenged them on every front, niggling constantly from the infield during the previous Test in Mohali and clashing with them on more than one occasion yesterday," the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
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