New Delhi: As India-Australia series began on October 9, many feared that the acrimony which engulfed the Sydney Test would crop up this time around too.
Their fears were confirmed when at the end of the first Test in Bangalore on Monday, the bitter rivals engaged in a war of words, making it clear neither team was willing to back down from both on and off-field battles.
Zaheer Khan, who produced a Man-of-the-Match performance, took a swipe at the Australians, dubbing them as 'defensive' and ineffective.
WINNING WAYS: Zaheer Khan celebrates after taking wicket of Matthew Hayden during their first Test in Bangalore.
"They were very defensive. I mean I have never seen an Australian team play such defensive cricket, which is a good thing for us," Zaheer said.
"Aussies talk big about scoring four runs per over in a Test match but they could not do so here,” he said.
“They know that they cannot take our twenty wickets and they are on the back foot. They couldn't get me and Bhajji (Harbhajan Singh) out till we put on 80 runs. What else do you want? So we are here for a big chance in this series. And we know that they are under pressure. So we are just looking ahead at the second game now,” Zaheer added.
Australia captain Ricky Ponting, however, was not amused by Zaheer’s impassioned remarks.
“I don't know what he (Zaheer) means, to tell you the truth,” was the curt response.
“We just want to try and take the game forward. We play aggressive cricket. We played aggressive cricket. He can have a little bit of a chuckle on the inside at what he's had to say. I don't think it means too much to us,” Ponting added.
Zhaeer, who took five wickets in the first innings and defied the Australians with a valiant unbeaten 57, also said the Aussies had come a cropper in the first Test and that India are in with a chance to win the series.