While the Sydney Test of 2020-21 Border Gavaskar Trophy will be fondly remembered for numerous cricketing reasons, it wouldn’t have had half its flavour had it not been for the “behind the stump” bantering.

India managing to salvage a draw on the very last day of the third Test match, defying all odds, could have been the only perfect ending to the epic contest at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Ravichandran Ashwin, who walked into bat with a sore back, couldn't bend to tie his own shoelace. The Australian bowlers then evened out the pain throughout the body with a few nasty short balls. He was hit four times on the bones and despite all that he batted with the willow in hand for more than 3 hours to oversee the casualty.  

His partner on the side of 22 yards was Hanuma Vihari. He too was a wounded soldier. According to reports, Vihari tore his hamstring on a grade 2 level while trying to sneak a single early on when he had come on to bat. The 27-year-old, on one leg, frustrated the home side for around 4 hours with the bat in hand.

All of this came with chatter and murmuring around the Indian batsmen. The Aussies who are known for their sledging kept chirping away to see what worked best for them. At some occasions, may have even crossed the line. Below are three illustrations which created news and even required the Australian skipper to apologize for the same.

Paine and Ashwin’s heated conversation

Perhaps the biggest one of them is the chat between the skipper Tim Paine and Ravi Ashwin. The latter was at the receiving end of some hostile reception from behind the stumps. The keeper then went over the limit calling him a ‘****head’ and a goose. The offie gave it back with a savage reply asking him to come to India which would be his last Test series.

“I can’t wait to get you to the Gabba Ash. I’ll tell you what, woo hoo,” Paine exclaimed.

“Just like we want to get you to India that will be your last series,” Ashwin didn’t stay put.

“Maybe. Are you a selector here as well?” Paine questioned.

“At least my teammates like me, ****head. I’ve got a lot more Indian friends than you do. “Even your teammates think you’re a goose. Don’t they? Every one of them.” Paine went on.

“Tell me when you’re done,” Ashwin said, withdrawing his stance.

“I’ll talk all day Mate. Wait until you get to the Gabba, pal.” Paine answered.

“It’s your guy man, not me,” Ashwin told the bowler Nathan Lyon as play was held up.

“How many Indian T20 League teams wanted you when you asked every single one of them to have you?” Paine persisted.

“Oh, I’ll come if I’m the captain.

“I’ve played a series in India. Yeah. Can’t remember my average, 60-something?” 

Paine and Ashwin were then seen having a small chat after the day’s play. The captain also addressed the media the following day and apologized for letting his team down and allowing the pressure to get to him.

Labuschagne and Warner's amusing conversation

Marnus Labuschagne has been in fine form this tour. Topping the batting charts, he missed out on hundreds in both innings in the Sydney Test. When on the field during the second innings, the hosts were high on confidence and destined for victory. Vihari had just come out to the centre following Rishabh Pant’s dismissal. Standing in as a close-in fielder, the 26-year old wanted to give his bowler Nathan Lyon some motivation from his part. Just two balls into Hanuma’s innings, the Aussie began.

“That is going to rag with the new … That is going to rag with the new ball, Garry (Lyon). You’re going to get both wickets, Garry,”

 “Shut up Marnus, it’s coming back to you,” said one of his teammates, reminding him to keep quiet.

“Don’t leave it in the sheds Marnus, don’t leave it in the sheds. It’s amazing, you get a wicket Painey and Marnus doesn’t shut up. Got to be consistent Marnus, talk all day please,” David Warner said doing his bit. 

Labuschagne to the Indian openers

Marnus Labuschagne loves a word or two, doesn’t he? Trying to be cheeky, he was also involved with the Indian openers before the hilarious conversation with Warner in the second innings.

Trying to unsettle the Indian players on Day 2, Marnus was handed the talking job and did it to perfection most might say. Stationed at short leg, Marnus was constantly at the ears of the batsmen doing his best to distract them.

He first asked Shubman Gill who is his favourite player between Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli. Gill replied to him saying he will let him know after the match.

Rohit was unavailable for the first two Tests and it was well-known that he had to isolate for 14 days before joining the team back. Marnus made the most of it and asked the hitman how he passed his time during that time. While Gill replied to the opposition, Rohit chose to ignore him.

His chats to his teammates that were caught on the stump mic were very entertaining.

“This is a catch. A Catch here,” he kept chirping away when Rohit was on strike.

When a ball from Josh Hazlewood kept low he was soon to comment saying, “Aww that’s a lowey,”

Not just chirping, Labuschagne also played mind games on the 2nd day. In one of the overs during the second session, he tried to unsettle the batsmen by moving from one fielding position to another. After changing his position more than once, he returned to his original position.

Feature image courtesy: AFP / David Gray