India clinched a hard-fought series against Australia 2-1 after winning the fourth and final Test in Dharamsala.
Emotions were running high after Australia won the opening Test in Pune, but visiting skipper Steve Smith set off a storm of controversy in the second game.
Smith looked to his dressing room while deciding whether to review his lbw dismissal in Bangalore, in a moment he described as a “brain fade”.
An ensuing war of words, as both captains stood their ground, required the cricket boards of India and Australia to intervene but even a clear-the-air meeting between the skippers failed to smooth things over.
The rancour worsened in the third Test when Australia’s Glenn Maxwell was caught mocking a shoulder injury sustained by Kohli while diving to save a boundary.
Maxwell, after making a similar plunge in the outfield, was seen clutching his shoulder and grinning to his team-mates in a parody that infuriated Indian fans and commentators.
Kohli had the last laugh, grabbing his shoulder in a theatrical fashion after Australian opener David Warner was dismissed for 14 the next day.
The fourth and final Test in Dharamsala saw a fresh controversy as Ravindra Jadeja and Matthew Wade engaged in a slanging match that could have been left on the field ─ had India’s cricket board not intervened.
The verbal clash was picked up by stump microphones and the board posted the complete exchange on its website and social media channels for all to hear.
Smith later expressed disappointment that the board had “sieved through the archive to find a conversation out on the field” between the two opponents.
Also in the final Test, Smith was caught out by an eagle-eyed cameraman as he called Murali Vijay a cheat for claiming a catch that had clearly hit the grass.
Smith, watching the incident from the dressing room, was seen saying “F****** cheat!”, but he later apologised for letting his emotions get the better of him.
All could have been forgiven and forgotten on the final day, but Kohli remained unhappy despite India’s series win. The home captain said he wouldn’t think of the Australian players as friends “ever again”, a comment which drew a strong reaction from Aussie media. Smith also revealed that he invited the Indian players to share a beer with his team, but was rebuffed as the series ended in acrimony.