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Rediff.com  » Sports » Zaheer came out and escalated things: Watson

Zaheer came out and escalated things: Watson

Last updated on: October 01, 2010 18:30 IST

On the eve of the opening Test Australian captain Ricky Ponting had stressed the need to have a series sans controversies.

- Scorecard | Images

"It is important for the series to be played in the right spirit," Ponting had said, when asked why there were no mind games being played on this tour.

However, the first controversy broke a day later, the opening day of the first Test. However, it was not allowed to flare up. Thankfully!.

It so happened that Australia's captain, after an impressive innings, was run-out. As Ponting headed for the dug out, Zaheer Khan, who had been punished by the former while bowling early on, initiated a war of words.

Not one to take things lightly, Ponting turned, walked back and retaliated in front of the Indian fielders (Zaheer inclusive) who were busy celebrating his dismissal.

While doing so, his bat was pointed in Zaheer's direction. The bowler seemed keen to carry the argument further. However, commonsense prevailed with umpire Billy Bowden intervening and Ponting leaving the field.

To give the Australian captain his due, he had been practicing what he had preached a day earlier. But it was Zaheer who annoyed him.

Even as an otherwise drab day ended, this spat became the talking point.

The Indian camp, as is always the case, was dismissive.

"When two top teams are involved, both trying to play hard, there's an obvious exchange of words," explained Pragyan Ojha.

If the Indian think tank had wisely sent him -- instead of the captain -- to do the explanation bit, the left-arm spinner did a commendable job.

He dismissed the incident as "a brief argument in good competition" before refusing to take further questions regarding the topic.

The Australian version was more forthcoming.

"Everyone knows how Ricky (Ponting) is," explained Shane Watson, adding, "Unless someone steps out of the line, he isn't looking for a fight."

The reference was clear and the next statement made it all the more obvious.

"Zaheer came out and escalated things," said Watson. "I saw what happened on the field. The footage clearly shows Ponting wasn't wrong there," he added.

Even the crowd could clearly see what happened on the field.

And even you, the readers, have seen it.

It's for you then to decide who was right and who was wrong!

Bikash Mohapatra in Mohali