South Africa v India, 2nd Test, Durban, 3rd day December 28, 2010

Sreesanth, Smith and sparks


The contest between the two top teams in the world is heating up, and some of it is boiling over, with Paul Harris alleging that "it must have been something personal [said by Sreesanth] for Graeme Smith to react the way he did". The incident Harris talked about was when Smith was seen pointing his bat at Sreesanth, and sharing stern words. It came three balls after Sreesanth had hit Smith on the finger with a sharp delivery, and there seemed to have been words exchanged then. Harris, however, made the allegation in the good faith that Smith doesn't react on the field unless a personal comment is made to him.

"For Grame to act the way he did - we all know Graeme really well - he doesn't react to situations like that," Harris said. "If it was personal - and I have heard it was - I think we should cut that out of the game.

"I know Sreesanth has said a few personal things on the field, which is not great and we don't condone that. If he wants to do that, he can do that. It must have been something personal for Graeme to react the way he did."

This was not the first time that words had been exchanged in this series. It was not even the first time on this particular day, for that matter. When Zaheer Khan came out to bat and swung and missed twice, Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Smith were in his ear. When Ishant Sharma got out, the umpires were not sure he had done so to a legitimate delivery, and Ishant waited next to the South African huddle for the third umpire to relay his verdict. There were words spoken then too, and Ishant was seen turning back and responding to what looked like a verbal send-off.

VVS Laxman was quick to mention the earlier incidents when the Smith-Sreesanth run-in was brought up, but also sought to play things down. "I am not sure what happened but saying that, it's a series between two top teams," he said. "In a keen tussle like that, it is bound to happen. It's not only when Sreesanth said something to Smith, but even their bowlers came at us hard. It's bound to happen because both the teams want to win this game badly. [These things happen] when the intensity at which the game is played is high."

Harris seemed to be in agreement with the intensity, but repeated the bit about getting personal. "The game has been played in very good spirit," he said. "It's No. 1 v No. 2. Every now and then it will boil over, it's Test cricket. That's what people want to see. Even we want to see it played hard on the field, but not getting personal. That's where we draw the line, it's a fine line."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on January 2, 2011, 7:07 GMT

    fadms,You sound an idiot.Don't be surprised if Grame and his colleauges that live in CP are sent home after 3 days

  • Rohit on January 1, 2011, 6:25 GMT

    What do they call Sreesanth in Australia?? - Ricky Pointing!! :-))

  • charles on December 30, 2010, 8:28 GMT

    No team is squeaky clean and personally I believe that this apsect is unnecessary when taken too far. Friendly banter is a good thing but "personal sledging" can go over the top and it is down to the skipper and senior players to control the behaviour onfield. we need "characters" in all sports but sometimes young men get a little too carried away with their own self-importance and need guidance as to their decorum. I also believe that umpires need to take a hand in onfield conduct. Perhaps not in the heat of the moment, but in their daily reports. It is then down to the match referees and the coaches along with the skippers to ensure the integrity of the game.

  • Sumit on December 29, 2010, 11:48 GMT

    India wins:) what a terrific game.. Total team performance in all 3 departments india has out-played SA.. series drawn level what an end to 2010.. We are #1 & proved it yet again..

  • Manohar on December 29, 2010, 11:23 GMT

    When you are about to lose the game you will lose the temper. We have seen it from Greame and Ricky. But learn something from Dhoni and Tendulkar. After all South Africa and Australia should understand that what you reap is what you saw.. come on India burry them on their own land...

  • Dummy4 on December 29, 2010, 11:19 GMT

    @fadms....well lets see who tucks their tail between their legs and run at the end of the series...this point in time its the proteas :)

  • Amit on December 29, 2010, 10:51 GMT

    This is a bit rich. Sounds like the good old Australian rant. When we sledge it is okay. When you sledge then it is too much, you are crossing the fine line..... it is personal, etc, etc. Sledging is sledging. I am sure neither of the two teams sledgers are praising the opposition. So why be hyprotical!!

  • Duncan on December 29, 2010, 10:45 GMT

    "I know Sreesanth has said a few personal things on the field, which is not great and we don't condone that." Pure hypocrisy. In one of his books Michael Vaughan reveals how Smith team repeatedly called him a 'queer' during the 2005 tour. Smith likes to project this macho bully-boy image but the truth is he can't take it when he's on the receiving end.

  • chris on December 29, 2010, 10:21 GMT

    I am loving this test match. Test cricket at its best. Looks like India will take it now, they were giving Harris a real going over earlier. Come on Harris and Prince! Well done to the Indians for putting up a fight after a pretty dismal performance in the first test. Laxman was superb. I was there on tuesday and man has it been hot, I dont know how the players are handling it.

  • Dummy4 on December 29, 2010, 9:55 GMT

    All the SA bowlers were having a "go"at Indian Batsmen and when they receive it back calling the abuse as "personal"gives an impression that the SA captain is still going to School. Grow up. Or else please come out in public about the words spoken by Steyn,Kallis and Harris as well as SreeSanth and we will interpret if its personal or official or friendlyor causal or sarcastic. Crying won't help especially while losing.

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