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

Sreesanth, Smith and sparks

56

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

  • 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

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

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

  • Arlecchino 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_mathur 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..

  • desertdude 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...

  • 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 :)

  • Cricketingfan 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!!

  • Guernica 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.

  • daager 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

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

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

  • Arlecchino 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_mathur 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..

  • desertdude 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...

  • 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 :)

  • Cricketingfan 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!!

  • Guernica 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.

  • daager 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.

  • 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.

  • Aussasinator on December 29, 2010, 9:34 GMT

    Sreesanth should do more of this. It has cost the South Africans their concentration and the match. A just retribution for all the rubbish Graeme Smith has been saying since the beginning of the series.

  • screamingeagle on December 29, 2010, 9:24 GMT

    Sree does overreact at times, but this time he really kept his emotions in check. That is good news for India. And that ball to Kallis...superb!

  • AKmAK on December 29, 2010, 9:23 GMT

    IPL auction is around the corner and pls keep in mind IPL franchises, those who not showing sports man spirit will be sacked. I've been long back a "Stain" fan until I heard he & co's spits towards Sachin (a true sports man) and others, just unbelievable, is this modern professionalism? That underlines agin the fact the culture bringing from home. I call IPL franchises do a better scrutiny regarding the issues, and don't let these hooligans to play in IPL before it's too late.

  • on December 29, 2010, 9:07 GMT

    Harris, Indian audience would love to read your take on incidents mentioned by VVS in his media briefing. If Indians fight hard its not cricket. If Aussies, English or South Africans talk in same vein, its hard cricket. Either be sportsman enough to accept what you throw or quit playing.

  • on December 29, 2010, 8:49 GMT

    Is Paul Harris the captain of South Africa? If not, why is he making comments over an incident that he was not involved with? Oh wait, Smith is the captain of South Africa. You would expect to hear a news like Harris got involved in an incident, and as the captain, Smith making some comments about it. It is the other way round here. Smith is leading from behind here, which is great to see.

  • on December 29, 2010, 8:40 GMT

    @cyniket - Excuse me please. Kirsten is just doing the job for the check he received. BCCI is his BOSS :) MSD is leading INDIA and mind you this is not Soccer.

  • anver777 on December 29, 2010, 8:03 GMT

    HOT Sreesanth need to be COOL so that he can consecrate on bowling & get the few SA wkts & put some pressure........

  • fadms on December 29, 2010, 7:36 GMT

    Proteas are gonna win this test despite what you all Indians are saying on or off the pitch. And i agree with Steyn, show us that you are #1, it is only by fluke and i hope you will be bundled up in your plane with your tails between your legs...

  • on December 29, 2010, 7:35 GMT

    always makes me laugh when Sth Africans or Australians complain about sledging or the personal nature. Its that silly notion of "...they way WE do it is correct...when others do it it is unsportsmenlike!"

    Looks like Sreeshanth won that battle with Smith trying to assert his dominance over him and playing a stupid shot to get out!

    come on India!!!!

  • Kev75 on December 29, 2010, 7:29 GMT

    We all know Sreesanth doesn't know where to draw the line ... seems like his display very recently in the IPL has been forgotten by most here. What's next ... is he going to burst into tears again? Needs to grow up and realise he is on the international stage.

  • TRUE_INDIAN_101 on December 29, 2010, 7:20 GMT

    Harris says" it's a fine line." But who is going to define that fine line. Sledging is sledging thats THE BOTTOM LINE. Someone might say that saying "monkey" is getting personal wherease others won't even bat an eyelid.:)

  • wincrick on December 29, 2010, 7:19 GMT

    The Australians and South Africans are same. They use these sledging and abusing tactics when things are not going their way and they go unpunished.From the clippings that are shown on TV it is seen that it is Smith who started the war of words. This is very unsporting of them and it seems that they are trying to follow the Aussies.Smith should be punished by handing him out match ban for 1 or 2 tests.

    Abhijith Radhakrishnan

  • Reggaecricket on December 29, 2010, 7:18 GMT

    Sreesanth often acts to big for his boots. He has boasted about his sledging abilities in the past. That's okay, but if he got personal Smith should have teated him the way Harbajaan did with the cry baby!

  • animon on December 29, 2010, 7:07 GMT

    Hail the GENTLEMAN, who xplained between the lines.... and hope there are more gentlemen. Oh... Harris please understand that what ever you get is what you have earned... through.... the game. Everyone around is watching what you do in the feild..... so please do not be a humble little lamb.. dont tell that when you win it is hardwork and when u loose it is because sree getting under yoru skin.... silly boy....

  • on December 29, 2010, 6:49 GMT

    this is not the time for talking time to react threw bat and ball they are the finest two teams in the world lets show who is the best then shoot words like this today is the real boxing day no one knows who will wins,no one has upper hands only luck will help both the team

  • vidyasagar06071993 on December 29, 2010, 6:37 GMT

    sree should chanelize his aggression and try to take wickets rather than getting into verbal spats.that ud be good for indian team as well as for himself.

  • on December 29, 2010, 5:54 GMT

    Bottom line...Sreesanth got Smith's wicket, so job done :)

  • on December 29, 2010, 5:41 GMT

    i get this feeling that SA are kind of using the media this series to put pressure. even before the series started they were subtly saying negative thigns about indian batsman. thn they questioned sachins efforts in the 1st test. all the time theyve been using the media.

    do they really need to do tht? use the media to back up their game?

  • Rahim_BD on December 29, 2010, 5:32 GMT

    bad umpiring is going to cost south Africa this match and may be series. It does not make sense why India refuse to use technology in the match. shame for them???

  • wiseshah on December 29, 2010, 5:32 GMT

    why sreesanth always dress like 70's bollywood heroine type.its 8th wonder

  • on December 29, 2010, 5:29 GMT

    May be Steyn is world # 1 for few days but, Sachin is worlds No. 1 since more than a decade so does Steyn forgot about his 200 in onedays, Now they dont've any option except loosing the 2nd test let them cry cry n cry poor SA team, when indians all out for 136 Smith barked like a street dog now he couldnt digest about their poor batting display (131) SA has bunch of idiots like ab Deviliers,Stupid Smith n P.Harris.al the best India we all know that today we're going to win and level the series.

  • on December 29, 2010, 5:21 GMT

    Really very well done by Sreesanth!!

    The end objective of sledging (by bowlers) is to get the batsman out, this is a best practise, SA and AU had made us learn over time. So now, they should shut their mouth tight and enjoy the music!!!

    Harris himslef has no (moral, if he has) right to say anything regarding this, he himself was involved in the same kinda sledging with Gauti in the first match....

  • sri1ram on December 29, 2010, 5:12 GMT

    It's something about SA that brings the best (or the worst) in "Shaant"kumaran Sreesanth. But I like it a lot - remember how Andre Nel needed to eat humble pie at SS's hands? Which Indian can forget the contributions of this guy at key moments for India - in the T20 finale against Pakistan where he took key wickets and then that last catch off Misbah! We should remember that recently only RSA has given India great competition at home and in RSA - not Ozzies, not England or even Pakistan. So the intensity (including verbals) should be proportionately higher with them.

  • on December 29, 2010, 5:06 GMT

    Smith got his own medicine and Shreeshanth won the contest, also he bowled beautifully. Smith need to control his bowlers first before reacting like that.. hoping to see India win this test match. All the best..

  • on December 29, 2010, 5:02 GMT

    Why do other teams have to abide by the sledging rules set by SA ? Smith & company may believe that personal is crossing the line, but for dhoni & co, sledging itself is crossing the line, once the line is crossed, they dont hold back. They might decide to question parentage or even who the ancestors were. But the people who opened the flood gates were the springbok's.

    If smith had won the war with the bat, they would now be claiming their great mental strength was behind their victory etc etc and would not be whingeing.

  • on December 29, 2010, 4:59 GMT

    @cyniket,

    If thats the way, SA will be winning all their matches. Its about who performs better on the given day.......

  • on December 29, 2010, 4:43 GMT

    Sreesanth likes to consume lots of space in the newsprint. I was expecting something like this from him

  • on December 29, 2010, 4:18 GMT

    If Sreesanth hit Smith's finger, you might not want to know what was said :-)

  • Jeysan on December 29, 2010, 4:01 GMT

    Common sissies.Stop whining and get on with it We are into the 9th day of this series and I am sure India is not the only team doing the talking out there

  • sudhs_107 on December 29, 2010, 3:31 GMT

    I like Steyn. He is the only bowler who has great aggression but, hardly does sledging...

  • AKmAK on December 29, 2010, 3:20 GMT

    Really its shame on you Proteas...at least you show host's spirit. Till this time the cricket worldl believed AUS are the kings of sledgers, but we all seen these SA'ns are well well ahead of them. Shame on you guys.. your sportsman spirit are much lower than a school cricket team. Everybody know how all of a sudden these happend, answer is simple IND shows they can play better than them. Go ahead IND, don't get confused by these par cricketers comments. Bring it own.

  • on December 29, 2010, 0:55 GMT

    The war of words is more enticing than the war between bat and ball, its become like kids squeeling on other kid, Guys get a life. First of all the press reporters should stop asking what was said on the field and then elobarating it to an article. One should understand; Sports all over the world is viewed my people of all ages and these international players/ Reporters have a responsibility to see that the kids/teenagers should use the right example to progress in there respective careers, what happens in the field associated to exchange of words should be ignored.

  • braindead_rocker on December 28, 2010, 22:51 GMT

    I was seeing Morkel cussing at Sachin in the first innings. Was that right? Harris needs to stop giving reasons and look forward to batting tomorrow. The Indian bowlers will get rid of the middle order and get to him soon.

  • cyniket on December 28, 2010, 22:28 GMT

    India are being led on by south africa here. If it turns into a fight, south africa will win. India have to remain calm, they have the upper hand. South africa are trying to distract them and appear to be succeeding. India don't have the players to frighten south africa, they don't have a steyn or a morkel, so don't throw away a winning position by trying to be something you're not.

  • dravisha on December 28, 2010, 21:23 GMT

    Yogesh, Best Comment of the day! Maybe they can add some guidelines on when it is OK to wait for the third umpire's decision when they are batting and absolutely "unsportsmanlike" of the other teams to do it when the Aussies are fielding.

  • DesiCricketfan on December 28, 2010, 21:04 GMT

    Well Well Well,In the first match i do not if people heard this but I was watching the game LIVE and was recording that too. Steyn was bowling to tendulkar and Bhajji was on the other end. Steyn Bowled and tendulkar defended and right away Steyn said "ARE YOU #1 , SHOW ME YOU ARE #1" No matter what kind of words are exchanged, people should ignore these on the field and play the game. people do sledging all the time and sledging is part of the game. i am not big fan of Sreesanth but Smith is grumpy because of the team bundled out for 131 and are facing stiff competition in the second game now which is really bothering Proteas.

  • TeamINDIAWins on December 28, 2010, 20:42 GMT

    Great Stuff by Sreesanth ................

  • Kethasports on December 28, 2010, 20:20 GMT

    :) Nice to see the way South Africans are responding to pressure. First Smith while batting (getting out) and then Harris while facing press. Hopefully they will learn something and stop their bad ways.

  • Skool on December 28, 2010, 20:09 GMT

    Sreesanth is really a funny guy. He bowls well only in SA. He'll be the key tomorrow.

  • Craving4Cric on December 28, 2010, 20:09 GMT

    This is not new at all, we see this from Aamer Sohail and Venkatesh Prasad. Now a days to win a cricket match you have to be good at mind game too. Let's ignore this and wait for the exciting day of cricket (Aus Vs Eng and Ind Vs SA - We will have result for both these matches at Day 4).

  • MightyOne on December 28, 2010, 19:58 GMT

    In my last post, I said I hoped India would raise their game after SA whipped them in the first test far too easily, but more importantly without a mutter or a scowl as they went. Dhoni and Kirsten were smiling so much at the end of the Centurion test you'd have thought they'd won it. Now that there's some edge and feeling out in the middle, I can't miss a ball! Test cricket at its dramatic finest here - not always pretty, and definitely not gentlemanly, but the passion from both teams to win it kept me glued to my seat all afternoon. Sreesanth would appear to have won the tussle with Smith, getting him to hook a shoulder high ball outside off, so Sree would be sleeping better tonight I'd wager. This is not a game of scrabble praume2001, its Test cricket, and its meant to be hard and tough. I can't wait for the conclusion tomorrow - I just hope the intensity is still there on both sides. That'll make it sweeter when SA win it!

  • see_wackk on December 28, 2010, 19:26 GMT

    They cry foul....when the HUNTERS become the HUNTED...well Smith will be cursing himself for the pre-match comments now..!!!

  • amanroy on December 28, 2010, 19:03 GMT

    Wow! Now what is the big deal in it? Steyn, Tsotsobe and Harris himself gave glare and saying words to Indian batsmen, but India didn't make any big issues in it! Why Only Sreesanth everytime? Anywayss... good luck to Indian team and well played Mr. Very Very Special!

  • on December 28, 2010, 19:02 GMT

    If you've been following Smith on twitter for a while, you'd have realized that he has always been negative about Sreesanth. I don't disagree much with Smith on whatever he had to say, but I thought cricketers ought to have some level of respect among each other and not disgrace a fellow cricketer on a public forum. I'm guessing all that past negativity towards Sree brought out the aggression out of Smith today, not denying the fact that Sree must have provoked him, but then the South African bowlers too were consistently chirping at every Indian batsman. So its all part of the game, Mr. Smith. Please don't get sucked into it and get out the way you did today.

  • on December 28, 2010, 18:24 GMT

    I wish Australia and South Africa get together some time and make a guide for all other teams, specially the Asian ones, on what is and what is not OK in sledging.

  • praume2001 on December 28, 2010, 18:18 GMT

    wht a cry baby...and smith reaction reminded me of ricky ponting...is smith hyper over sreesanth's remarks or bcoz he knws he has to bite his words and comments he made on Indian team before the start of the match and the final outcome of the match...or is it something to do with his broken middle finger...

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  • praume2001 on December 28, 2010, 18:18 GMT

    wht a cry baby...and smith reaction reminded me of ricky ponting...is smith hyper over sreesanth's remarks or bcoz he knws he has to bite his words and comments he made on Indian team before the start of the match and the final outcome of the match...or is it something to do with his broken middle finger...

  • on December 28, 2010, 18:24 GMT

    I wish Australia and South Africa get together some time and make a guide for all other teams, specially the Asian ones, on what is and what is not OK in sledging.

  • on December 28, 2010, 19:02 GMT

    If you've been following Smith on twitter for a while, you'd have realized that he has always been negative about Sreesanth. I don't disagree much with Smith on whatever he had to say, but I thought cricketers ought to have some level of respect among each other and not disgrace a fellow cricketer on a public forum. I'm guessing all that past negativity towards Sree brought out the aggression out of Smith today, not denying the fact that Sree must have provoked him, but then the South African bowlers too were consistently chirping at every Indian batsman. So its all part of the game, Mr. Smith. Please don't get sucked into it and get out the way you did today.

  • amanroy on December 28, 2010, 19:03 GMT

    Wow! Now what is the big deal in it? Steyn, Tsotsobe and Harris himself gave glare and saying words to Indian batsmen, but India didn't make any big issues in it! Why Only Sreesanth everytime? Anywayss... good luck to Indian team and well played Mr. Very Very Special!

  • see_wackk on December 28, 2010, 19:26 GMT

    They cry foul....when the HUNTERS become the HUNTED...well Smith will be cursing himself for the pre-match comments now..!!!

  • MightyOne on December 28, 2010, 19:58 GMT

    In my last post, I said I hoped India would raise their game after SA whipped them in the first test far too easily, but more importantly without a mutter or a scowl as they went. Dhoni and Kirsten were smiling so much at the end of the Centurion test you'd have thought they'd won it. Now that there's some edge and feeling out in the middle, I can't miss a ball! Test cricket at its dramatic finest here - not always pretty, and definitely not gentlemanly, but the passion from both teams to win it kept me glued to my seat all afternoon. Sreesanth would appear to have won the tussle with Smith, getting him to hook a shoulder high ball outside off, so Sree would be sleeping better tonight I'd wager. This is not a game of scrabble praume2001, its Test cricket, and its meant to be hard and tough. I can't wait for the conclusion tomorrow - I just hope the intensity is still there on both sides. That'll make it sweeter when SA win it!

  • Craving4Cric on December 28, 2010, 20:09 GMT

    This is not new at all, we see this from Aamer Sohail and Venkatesh Prasad. Now a days to win a cricket match you have to be good at mind game too. Let's ignore this and wait for the exciting day of cricket (Aus Vs Eng and Ind Vs SA - We will have result for both these matches at Day 4).

  • Skool on December 28, 2010, 20:09 GMT

    Sreesanth is really a funny guy. He bowls well only in SA. He'll be the key tomorrow.

  • Kethasports on December 28, 2010, 20:20 GMT

    :) Nice to see the way South Africans are responding to pressure. First Smith while batting (getting out) and then Harris while facing press. Hopefully they will learn something and stop their bad ways.

  • TeamINDIAWins on December 28, 2010, 20:42 GMT

    Great Stuff by Sreesanth ................