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Sparks fly in ill-tempered Kochi ODI

October 02, 2007 19:50 IST

On the first ever International Non-Violence Day, things did not go out of control but match officials were on their toes to ensure that sparks flying all over Nehru Stadium does not engulf the second India-Australia cricket one dayer.

- Images from the match

After 20 overs of apparently peaceful cricket, where aggression was limited to glare and unuttered curse, there was enough hints that everything was not going well out there.

It was the 21st over when Andrew Symonds stepped out to send Harbhajan Singh's second delivery soaring high over the long-on ropes. As the 'Turbanator' completed his over, he apparently had an altercation with Matthew Hayden, who was at the non-striker's end and their body language made it obvious that they were not exchanging pleasantries.

And Hayden's swagger looked bit prolonged after he brought up his fifty with a mighty six off the off-spinner.

S Sreesanth has already made a name for being an youngster with a volatile temper, especially so when he is facing Australia.

In the 43rd over, the local favourite exchanged a few words with Symonds and the drama repeated in his next over.

Sreesanth even made a run out appeal against Symonds after he walked down from the non-strikers' end to confront the bowler, who appeared to say something to Haddin after a delivery.

Eventually, Mahendra Singh Dhoni walked up to the pacer, asking him to keep his cool.

Sreesanth finally had his moment when he caught Symonds off his own bowling and went simply delirious. He was screaming at the top of his voice, while Symonds too left not before mouthing his parting words.

Harbhajan featured in another high-voltage moment while batting. Stumped off Michael Clarke in the 31st over, Harbhajan stopped to give a piece of his mind to the garrulous Australian close-in fielders prompting umpire Steve Bucknor to approach and tap him on his shoulder, asking him to move on.

The only moment of rare bonhomie came when Dhoni's shot hit Sreesanth on his helmet and a few of the Australian fielders came forward to inquire about his well-being.

The series has already had its fair share of war of words. Though a hamstring injury keeps him out of action, Australia's regular captain Ricky Ponting has emerged as an advocate of his former skipper Steve Waugh's theory of mental disintegration of the opponents.

It was in fact Ponting who set the ball rolling before the series when he took a dig at Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly and claimed that the presence of the ageing stalwarts would in fact help Australia's cause.

Home captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni's talent at taking jibes at opponents did not go unnoticed either.

After Adam Gilchrist claimed that his team was ready to play the series opener in Bangalore despite a wet outfield, Dhoni quipped,"Bahaduri aur beokufi ke beech bahot kam fark hota hai" (There is a very thin line separating bravery from foolhardy).

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