Star Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh revealed that it was an unrelenting barrage of vulgar personal remarks from the Australian fielders that provoked him to a verbal duel in the second one dayer at Kochi.
In the heated match on Tuesday, Harbhajan got out to Michael Clarke and while leaving, the offie was seen exchanging words with the Australians till umpire Steve Bucknor patted him on his shoulder, asking him to move on.
Harbhajan later revealed that he was reacting to some vulgar personal comments from the Aussies. He felt the 'arrogant' Aussies were still smarting from their Twenty20 World Cup defeat to India and their outburst was just a manifestation of that frustration.
"They think they are superior and can do and say whatever they like, but that is not the case," Harbhajan said.
"They are very bad losers. They were beaten in the (Twenty20) World Cup and they clearly did not like that," the off-spinner was quoted as saying by Sydney Morning Herald.
"They are a very good cricket side, but that does not mean that they can do whatever they want to do. They say they play the game in the right spirit, but they don't in reality. There is nothing gentlemanly about the way they play," said Harbhajan, seething with anger.
Harbhajan said he did not mind little war of words but stooping to personal level was a strictly no-no.
"I was responding to a lot of vulgar words that were said to me. I don't have any problem with chitchat on the field, so long as it is about the game. But when it is very personal and vulgar, that is not on. They think you cannot fight back and they do not like it when you do."
"I won't listen to that crap. If they want to play like that, they'll get it back from us," Harbhajan said.
The second one-dayer was marked by a number of such moments and Indian pacer S Sreesanth too had an altercation with Andrew Symonds and after the match, ICC match referee Chris Broad called Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist and Mahendra Singh Dhoni and asked them to rein in their teammates.
Harbhajan said the Aussies are "poor losers" and every other team shares this sentiment.
"Ask any team. They will tell you that when (Australia) get beaten, they react badly. In this game, you win some and you lose some, but regardless of the result, there is no excuse for their kind of behaviour," he asserted.
The daily also quoted Symonds lashing out at Sreesanth and saying, "When I go to another code of sport I like to see confrontation, I'll admit that, but you don't want to see ugly confrontation and you certainly don't want to see confrontation that degrades your code".
He, however, gave enough indications that the Australians would continue with their all-round aggressive approach to the game to gain a psychological edge.
"Because we've got them for so long, if you can get an edge over them, it starts to eat into them mentally as well I think," he said.
"If we can play well here on their end, it would be good to take that confidence and that success back home," Symonds said.