Zaheer Khan "circled Matthew Hayden and shouted at him in an aggressive manner" © Getty Images
The India fast bowler Zaheer Khan was fined 80% of his match fee on Tuesday for unsporting conduct during India's dominant victory. Zaheer took three wickets in four balls on the final morning to secure India's 320-run win before attending a hearing with the ICC match referee Chris Broad.
Zaheer pleaded guilty to a Level 2 offence for conduct contrary to the spirit of the game after the dismissal of Matthew Hayden in Australia's second innings on Monday. He was fielding when Hayden was dismissed lbw to Harbhajan Singh and "circled the batsman and shouted at him in an aggressive manner".
"Clearly, this sort of behaviour is not acceptable at any level of cricket - it showed a lack of respect for the player who had been dismissed," Broad said. "Respect for the opposition was something that we talked about in the pre-series meeting I had with both captains and so it was disappointing that Zaheer behaved in this way."
Broad considered Zaheer's good disciplinary record in delivering the fine. "He also pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and was very apologetic while also promising not to repeat the offence," Broad said.
Hayden complained to umpire Rudi Koertzen, who was standing at square leg, when he left the ground in the over before tea on the fourth day. Hayden's dismissal sparked a collapse, with Australia losing five wickets for nine runs to slump to 58-5 while chasing an unlikely victory target of 516.
Koertzen and Asad Rauf intervened on a number of occasions during the match to call for calm. India's captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni did not feel there was a problem with the behaviour of some of his players - Harbhajan Singh was particularly animated on occasions - during the Test.
"The match referee decides that," Dhoni said. "If there is some aggressive cricket in the field going on, I prefer that. The guys are not really crossing the boundary, so it is okay."
Ponting said he did not mind "chitchat" on the field, but "if players do overstep the line then the umpires get involved". "They did get involved a couple of times in this game," he said. "We all know the referee is involved in the Zaheer Khan incident from yesterday [Monday]."
India, who lost 2-1 to Australia in a fractious series in 2007-08, were aggressive throughout the match, playing in the style of their opponents.
Dhoni downplayed the impact the attitude had in contributing to the success, which gave India a 1-0 lead in the four-match series.
"The main way to beat Australia is to play good, consistent cricket," he said. "If it [the way to beat them] was by using verbals we would have hired some guys who are good at that stuff. Ultimately you've got to play good cricket. A bit of verbal chitchat going around is fine, it gives some excitement to the game, but it's got to be between the boundaries."