The stiff contest between the touring Indian side and hosts South Africa descended into an ugly war of words on Day 3 of the second Test, at Durban. Indian fire-brand bowler S Sreeshant apparently passed a cheeky gibe at Proteas' captain Graeme Smith after the latter completed taking a single off him in the 9th over, prompting Smith to respond sternly by brandishing his bat and unleashing some sharp words.
The incident was apparently triggered when three balls earlier, Sreesanth got a quick delivery to rear up from a length and strike Smith on his fingers, at which the skipper painfully drew his hand off the bat's handle and grimaced.
"Sreesanth has said some personal things on the field which is not great, " claimed Proteas off-spinner Paul Harris. "I know it must have been something personal that he said, for Graeme to react the way he did."
Sreesanth went on to have the last laugh however, when in the 12th over, he got Smith to sky a delivery which descended safely into M S Dhoni's gloves. Smith's departure was perhaps a fitting end to the altercation with Sreesanth.
After all, the Indians weren't the ones to strike up this verbal duel. When Zaheer Khan was going strong at the crease with VVS Laxman during their 70-run partnership, South African speedster Lonwabo Tsotsobe, also taunted his opposite number with some harsh words. Zaheer had been trying to smash him away for a boundary, but missed the ball on several occasions.
When questioned about his take on the ugly incident between Sreesanth and Smith, India's hero of the second innings VVS Laxman, said "I know Sreesanth said something to Graeme Smith but even their bowlers came at us, but I think it's bound to happen because both teams are top teams and both teams want to win this match badly"
As tensions soar on what certainly looks like it's going to be the final day of the match, emotions might certainly run high giving way to more unpleasant exchanges between the two sides. But it is important for India that they focus on the job at hand and let the ball do all the talking.