Sydney, Feb.27 : With Australian opener Mathew Hayden likely to be hauled up by Cricket Australia for his "obnoxious weed" description of Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh just days before the two sides square up for the first of the best of three Commonwealth Bank one-day series finals, Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has warned the Australians that they can expect a dose of their own sledging.
The Australian players are incensed about continually being made to look like the guilty party during verbal confrontations with the Indians this summer.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, both teams are presently engaged in a tit-for-tat spiteful on field chatter that has soured relations between them and forced their two boards to step in.
Skipper Ricky Ponting told team-mates he was subjected to non-stop abuse from Harbhajan during his 24 minutes at the crease in Adelaide. When it was Harbhajan's turn to bat, he was roasted by the Australians, and then Ponting gave him a blunt farewell message after he was dismissed, at which point the Indian spinner stopped dead and gave his rival a burning stare.
The ill-feeling carried over to the weekend's match in Sydney, after which teenage Indian paceman Ishant Sharma was fined 15 per cent of his match fee for aggressively gesturing to the stands after clean bowling Andrew Symonds.
India maintains Symonds provoked Sharma and that Australia had been harassing them throughout their tour.
"It's (Australian provocation) been going on for a long time and you have to be careful about that. If you're getting provoked, then there are ways in which you can reply so you have to be careful about it," said Dhoni.
It appears, therefore, that India's youngsters are to be given free reign to practice what they've learnt from their opponents - which will make for a fascinating contest in the first tri-series final at the SCG on Sunday.
Newly crowned Allan Border Medallist Brett Lee played down notions of a rift between the two sides. "I think if you see the way we get on with the Indian cricket team off the field, it's a totally different story," Lee said.
Meanwhile, Symonds's aggressive disposition will be welcomed by his Indian Premier League team, Hyderabad, despite fears he may have put Indian fans offside with involvement in a string of controversial incidents over the summer.
Signalling intentions to play a no-nonsense style, Hyderabad co-owner N. Krishnan saidymonds's clashes with Harbhajan and Sharma were not of concern and he hoped the Queenslander continues his hard approach in the IPL.
Symonds's Hyderabad captain, VVS Laxman, predicted that the local crowds would support him passionately.
"He is a match-winner for us and obviously if he does well for the team, the crowd will love him," Laxman said.
"I have known Symonds since under-19 days. He is a very good friend of mine and he is a thorough professional," he added.