Claims and counter-claims flew on Thursday after senior Australian batsman Matthew Hayden was officially reprimanded for calling Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh an "obnoxious little weed."
Tensions continue to simmer in a summer of cricket acrimony ahead of Sunday's first final in the tri one-day series in Sydney between the two fiercely-competitive rivals.
Cricket Australia's code of behaviour commissioner Ron Beazley late on Wednesday upheld a charge that Hayden had breached the code of conduct with his public comment about Harbhajan and issued a reprimand.
Hayden pleaded his innocence and escaped a possible suspension and fine.
The Hayden incident is the latest in a series of controversies, and follows a racism row, threats by India to leave, and players fined for aggressive behaviour.
The fall-out continued on Thursday with Harbhajan claiming Hayden was one of the most disliked figures in world cricket.
"I don't want it to be a slanging match, but you only need to speak to international cricketers and international teams to know in what opinion they hold Hayden," Harbhajan told Sydney's
The Daily Telegraph
Harbhajan also accused Australia of trying to cover up their on-field sledging by hiding among their teammates to avoid being detected by television cameras.
Another unnamed Indian player told the
that Hayden was "insane" and vowed to give him "the fight" the tourists believe he is asking for.
"It's not strategy, it's insane and asking for a fight. And if he wants that, we'll give it to him," the player told the newspaper.
"He will not stop making sarcastic or plain rude remarks, whether he is fielding or batting. It is very difficult to not get upset and we don't see why he is allowed to get away with his constant barbs."
The latest controversy has again reactivated hostilities between the two teams.
"Matthew Hayden was charged for simply saying what most Australians feel about Harbhajan Singh,"
The Daily Telegraph
said on Thursday.
"What is wrong with calling Harby an obnoxious little weed? It's not racist, it's not all that rude and it's certainly not bad for the game."
The Australian newspaper described Hayden's comments as "foolish."
"Named one-day player of the year, Hayden foolishly said on Brisbane radio before the presentation what many in the team think about Harbhajan," the newspaper said.
"While it was meant to be a light-hearted radio interview, Hayden's lack of diplomacy has poured petrol on a bushfire and has given the Indians something substantial to complain about."
said Australian captain Ricky Ponting had to show leadership in the potentially-explosive best-of-three match ODI finals series.
"If there is a fight on hand, he won't shy away from it. To a certain extent, that's what leadership is all about," the newspaper said.
"Leadership, too, is about remaining calm and letting your actions tell the story."
"Ponting must learn to do this and encourage his men to follow, otherwise the tri-series finals will be lost. Match referee Jeff Crowe must also take control."