India spinner Harbhajan Singh has been summoned to a hearing by match referee Mike Procter following an incident on the third day of the second Test against Australia in Sydney on Friday.
A statement from the International Cricket Council (ICC) said the charge was laid by the match umpires following a complaint from Australia captain Ricky Ponting.
"The complaint was made by Ponting after the 116th over of India's first innings, prior to which Harbhajan is alleged to have made a comment directed at an Australia player," the statement said.
The alleged offence falls under 3.3 of the ICC code of conduct which refers to players or team officials using language or gestures that offends another person on the basis of that person's race, religion, gender, colour, descent, or national or ethic origin, the statement added.
If found guilty, Harbhajan could face a ban of between two and four Test matches or between four and eight one-day internationals.
The hearing is scheduled for after close of play on Saturday.