Chennai: India A might have won the tri-series final against Australia A but today's match was marked by some ugly exchange of words between the players of the two sides with visiting captain Usman Khawaja alleging that Sanju Samson spit on his players.
The Unmukt Chand-led side chased down a modest 227-run target to win the title clash by four wickets but the unfortunate incident left a sour taste among the visiting players.
The problem started when Samson claimed a catch during the Australian innings, which the visitor's believed was not valid. A heated exchanged ensued between the players, which carried on when Samson (24 not out) came on to bat in a tricky chase. Khawaja, who-top scored for his side with 76, was not happy with Samson's way of retaliation.
"Obviously, the guys in our team were disappointed that he claimed he had taken the catch. Today he spit in front of our players foot three times. If you do that the boys are going to get worked up and the umpires were not understanding it. We did try to calm the boys, but they were just went on and on," a dejected Khawaja said in the post-match conference.
"I am happy if the batsmen happen to talk back but spitting is not on. He spit on one of our players when he came on to the field, one of the players had said something to him. I understand that. If one of our player said something to him, he can say something back but not spitting. It happened during his batting innings," he added.
Khawaja though is not keen on taking the matter further and praised India for their showing.
"I do not want to make a big deal about things that happened on the field. I do not want to take away any credit from India. They really played well today and were the better team to have won," he said.
"Unfortunately, incidents like that happen. Some incident happened the other day with one of your bowler (Sandeep Sharma). He was coming back and it was fine. I was happy with that. I have seen it all, it is another game, it does not affect me too much," the opener added.
Man of the Match Gurkeerat Singh, who dazzled with his 2-42 and 87 not out, though claimed ignorance in the matter and said that sledging is Australia's style of play.
"Actually I didn't even know. They were just talking and I did not hear. I have no idea about that. I think it their style of play and we have a different style of play and we should not get distracted on somebody saying something," he said.
Khawaja admitted the visitors failed to capitalise on chances and praised Gurkeerat for his defiant knock.
"It is always tough to defend a total of 220 runs. We had our chance when the fifth wicket fell but we have to take wickets to win the game. India just batted sensibly. The wicket was up and down and it was not turning massive. If we had few more runs we could strangle them on that kind of wicket.
"India played well today. Gurkeerat got 87 runs and when one player get that much run, you are going to win," he said.
The left-handed batsman also blamed the lack of partnerships in the Australia A innings for the loss.
"We just did not build enough partnerships today. We executed our plans beautifully and played really good cricket. We had four wins and three bonus points in the series. I think where we lost it was probably in the last 30 overs as we did not get partnerships.
"Had we set around 270 plus, it could have been a very good total. We bowled really well. I cannot say that we did not really do well as a team. We just did not have enough runs on the board. That happens sometimes and unfortunately it was today," he said.