Mohammed Siraj was fielding near the boundary on day four at the SCG when he complained to the umpires and pointed to the crowd; police escorted six men away from their seats after play had been halted; India had reported alleged racist abuse against Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah on day three
Last Updated: 10/01/21 12:08pm
Day four of Australia and India’s third Test in Sydney was stopped for eight minutes on Sunday while umpires and local police responded to complaints of crowd abuse towards the tourists.
India fast bowler Mohammed Siraj had been fielding near the fine leg boundary before he complained to the umpires and pointed to a section of the crowd.
Umpires Paul Reiffel and Paul Wilson halted the game while police and security questioned people in the crowd – police later escorted six men away from their seats. The ICC has launched an investigation on the matter, as have New South Wales Police, while Cricket Australia issued a statement to say it has launched an inquiry of its own.
“The abuse of cricketers by crowd members is not acceptable,” Sean Carroll, Cricket Australia’s head of integrity and security, said. “We thank the Indian team for their vigilance in reporting today’s incident, which we are now in the process of investigating.
“A number of spectators were interviewed by NSW Police and subsequently removed from the SCG on Sunday afternoon. While we await the outcome of the investigation by NSW Police, CA has launched its own inquiry into the matter.
“It is most regrettable that an otherwise excellent Test match contested in tremendous spirit by two friendly rivals has been tarnished by the actions of a small number of spectators over the past two days.
“As hosts, we once again apologise to the Indian team.”
India had reported alleged racist abuse against bowlers Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah on Saturday during day three of the Test at the SCG.
Speaking after Saturday’s initial alleged abuse, Carroll said: “If you engage in racist abuse, you are not welcome in Australian cricket.
“Once those responsible are identified, CA will take the strongest measures possible under our Anti-Harassment Code, including lengthy bans, further sanctions and referral to New South Wales Police.”
Kerrie Mather, Venues New South Wales’ chief executive, said: “At the SCG, we pride ourselves on welcoming anyone and everyone in a safe and inclusive environment.
“We are taking this extremely seriously. If those involved are identified, they will be banned from the SCG and all Venues NSW properties under our Act.”
Australia coach Justin Langer joined the condemnation.
“It’s upsetting and it’s disappointing,” he said. “It’s one of my greatest pet hates in life that people think they can come to a sporting event and abuse or say whatever they like.
“I hated it as a player and I hate it as a coach.
“We have seen it in different parts of the world, and it’s really sad to see it happen in Australia.
“I think our series so far has been played in such great spirits. It’s a shame to see it getting marred by incidents like we’re hearing about today and last night.”
India’s Ravichandran Ashwin said the team had been insulted by Sydney spectators in the past but the alleged racial abuse had crossed a line during the ongoing match, which is being played in front of a reduced crowd of less than 10,000.
“It is definitely not acceptable in this day and age. This must definitely be dealt with iron-fist and we must make sure it doesn’t happen again,” the bowler said.
India closed day four on 98-2 in their second innings having been set 407 to win, leaving Australia as favourites to take a 2-1 lead in the four-match series, which concludes in Brisbane from January 15.
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