Fiery Indian opener Gautam Gambhir is well-aquainted with on-field verbal tangles. The dubious trend got a new lease of life on Day 2 of the third Test against South Africa, at the Sahara Stadium in Cape Town.
In light of all the outer and inner edges that Gambhir seemed to be getting during his shaky knock, South Africa slip fieldsman Ashwell Prince unleashed a couple of voluble taunts directed at the Delhi left-hander.
Gambhir who himself has earned a reputation of being quite a cocky character with a fierce streak of self-respect, wouldn't let the gibes pass without address and shot back some stern words at Prince, perhaps mockingly reminding the fielder that he had dropped him earlier.
But a charged up Gambhir, who was evidently not having too comfortable a time at the crease, didn't leave it at that. He took up the matter with the umpire who had to pacify him by probably saying he was not a mediator and that Gambhir should just ignore any alleged attempts to needle him.
Earlier in his career,Gambhir had got into more direct spats with international opponents. One incident which stands out was during South Africa's second ODI versus India ta Bangalore in 2006.
Fire-tongued Proteas' pace bowler Andre Nel suddenly struck up a heated exchange with Gambhir. A few balls later, the batsman reacted by swatting Nel away for a midwicket boundary and following up the shot with a few sharp words. Nel then brought the umpires into the fray who confronted a combative Gambhir and told him to just mile away the taunts.
Just like in that match, the stakes are high here at Newlands and Gambhir would do well to keep a tight lip and let his bat do all the reacting.