Aussies get physical with Windies

Chris Gayle has just finished a masterful innings in the Perth Test but day two was marked by ugly confrontations between Suleiman Benn and Johnson

updated: December 17, 2009 15:26 IST
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Sulieman Benn, Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson face suspension by the International Cricket Council (ICC) after having been involved in an on-field altercation on day two of the third Test between Australia and West Indies on Thursday.

The drama began when West Indies spinner Benn and Johnson collided as the Australian set off towards the keeper's end for a single and Benn tried to field the ball off Haddin.

As Johnson crossed Benn's path, the bowler grabbed his arm and shirt. Haddin was incensed and, as the single was completed, he thrust his bat towards Benn complaining about the contact.

"Don't push your f---ing bat at me, man," Benn then yelled at Haddin, who replied: "Get back and bowl."

Windies captain Chris Gayle calmed Benn down as the umpires intervened. On the final ball of the over, Haddin drove straight back to Benn who shaped up to fire the ball back at him and Haddin jumped out of the way.

Benn then charged down the pitch pointing at Haddin and in that motion his elbow hit the side of Johnson's helmet. Johnson pushed Benn away before umpire Blly Bowden intervened.

The three players have already received a rebuke from the chairman of Cricket Australia, Jack Clarke, who described their conduct during and after the explosive over after lunch as unacceptable, and further punishment awaits from the ICC match referee, Chris Broad.

"No one wants to see that. Terrible," said Clarke, who caught the second stage of the confrontation from the President's Room at the WACA Ground, was quoted as saying in Sydney Morning Herald.

"It (physical contact) is an absolute no-no. We all accept that."

If either Johnson or Benn is convicted of making inappropriate physical contact under the ICC code of conduct, they can be fined 100 per cent of their match fee (in the Australian's case, $13,250) or banned for one Test.

Haddin cannot be found guilty on that charge but he arguably inflamed the situation, and stepped into something that didn't involve him, by pushing his bat angrily in Benn's direction, provoking the spinner.

The incident revived memories of the infamous clash between Dennis Lillee and Javed Miandad at the same ground in 1981, when a collision prompted Lillee to turn and confront Miandad and the Pakistani batsman lifted his bat as if to strike him.