A high intensity contest between the two top ranked teams in test cricket came to an end today morning in Dharamsala with India emerging triumphant with an 8-wicket victory to clinch the series 2-1 and regain the Border-Gavaskar trophy. This series has often been marred by ugly behavior which has been characteristic of India-Australia tests in the Ganguly era.  The captains of the two teams, Steve Smith and Virat Kohli are involved in many incidents during the series but the Australian captain becomes the first one to apologize for his behavior when he came to speak at the post match presentation ceremony.

While praising the opposition players for their impressive performance in the final game and his own team for giving the kind of fight that nobody expected of them at the start of the series, Smith went on to add, “I have been pretty intense throughout this series. I really wanted to do well for the team. At times I have been in my own bubble and have let my emotions slip. I apologize for that.”

This comes just a day after Steve Smith is caught on camera appearing to have mouthed the words “F**king Cheat” in reference to Murali Vijay’s claim of a catch off Josh Hazlewood’s bat. Which was later overturned by the umpires after TV replays suggested the ball had touched the ground. However, this was just ugly incidents among the many that we have witnessed during the series between these two great rivals.

Steve Smith and Virat Kohli
Steve Smith and Virat Kohli have been guilty of ugly behavior throughout the series
PC: Michael Dodge/Getty Images AsiaPac

It began with the war of words Smith had with Ishant Sharma during the second test. Don’t be fooled by the troll faces of Ishant Sharma mocking Smith doing the rounds on the internet; there were some serious insults traded during the drinks break in the absence of cameras. Then Smith involves in the brain fade incident of seeking the DRS review after consulting his team management from the dressing room. Which did not go down well with the Indian captain Kohli. Kohli later accused the Australian team of indulging in this practice plenty of times in the Bangalore match and plainly termed it as cheating.

Smith and Kohli go way back. One cannot forget the ugly interaction the two had during the 2014 Adelaide test. During which, luckily, veteran ex-captain Ricky Ponting was at hand to diffuse the situation. However, there was no such senior statesman in either team this time round. Both Smith and Kohli are young captains at the peak of their abilities leading two proud cricketing nations. They are among the best batsmen in the world at the moment and play their cricket with intensity. Such incidents have taken place in the past as well. Where players are caught in the heat of the moment and do things that they later regret. It was heartening to see Smith own that fact at the end of a hard-fought series. From which Australia have certainly managed to return with their heads held high.