Bangalore: Indian opener Virender Sehwag has dramatically raised the temperature surrounding Thursday's first Test against Australia in Bangalore by loudly claiming the Australians cheated to win the spiteful Sydney Test match in January.
Sehwag repeated the view widely held within the Indian team that last summer Ricky Ponting's team had taken advantage of a pre-series catching pact to accept the word of the opposition by claiming half-volleys on the desperate final day at the SCG.
It was this view as much as anything else, including Andrew Symonds' refusal to walk after an obvious edge behind on the first day of the match, that led Indian skipper Anil Kumble to state: "Only one team was playing in the spirit of the game".
"We suffered the most in the catches pact during the last series," Sehwag told a TV channel.
"There is no point in having such an arrangement when the Australians are claiming one-bounce catches. We'd have won the Sydney Test if they hadn't claimed catches off half-volleys in that game," he was quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald , .
The Sydney match almost saw Kumble's Indians pull out of the series after a string of controversial umpiring decisions.
The tourists agreed to continue only after the International Cricket Council pacified them by standing down West Indian umpire Steve Bucknor from the subsequent Perth Test.
Indian officials again threatened to abandon the tour before a charge of racial abuse against Harbhajan Singh by Andrew Symonds, following an incident that took place in Sydney, was downgraded to the lesser offence of using abusive language.