Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds admitted he had a "crack" at Harbhajan Singh in the second Test but said the Indian off-spinner has only him to blame for incurring a three-match ban by Match Referee Mike Procter.
Symonds claimed Harbhajan had hit Brett Lee while batting, following which he had an altercation with the Indian. But if the episode earned Harbhajan a three-match ban from Procter, the off-spinner has none but himself to blame for that, Symonds said.
"I'm a firm believer in sticking up for your teammate, so I stepped in and had a bit of a crack at Harbhajan, telling him exactly what I thought of his antics," Symonds told The Daily Telegraph.
"He then had a shot back, which brings us to the situation we're facing tonight," he said, squarely blaming the Indian for the issue, which has now snowballed into a major contention with the BCCI challenging the ban order.
Recalling how it all started, Symonds said, "Brett Lee had just sent down a delivery and Harbhajan took off down the wicket. When he was returning to his crease, he decided to hit Brett on the backside. I have no idea why he did it. I was standing nearby and when I saw what happened I thought: 'Hold on, that's not on'."
Symonds claimed India and Australia shared a pretty cordial relation before the incident soured it all.
"I must admit the incident was pretty surprising, because relations between the two sides so far have been very good. It's been a series played in really good spirit. There's been no sledging or bad blood."