Their pace spearhead staring at suspension, England have hit back, lodging a counter-charge against Indian all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, as off-field action threatened to eclipse the start of the second Test in London on Thursday.
A day after India went to the ICC accusing paceman James Anderson of "abusing and shoving" Jadeja during the first Test in Trent Bridge, the ICC confirmed on Wednesday that the England team had brought a level two charge against the Indian player that could invite a one-Test or two-ODI ban.
Jadeja "turned suddenly and took steps towards Anderson in an aggressive and threatening manner" during the alleged confrontation on July 10, the complaint said.
Read: Anderson charged with misconduct by ICC, ECB accuses Jadeja
Anderson, who is charged with a level-three complaint, the most serious offence under the ICC code of conduct, faces up to a four-Test ban.
Read: Anderson-Jadeja row threatens India-England cricket ties
Indian captain MS Dhoni, it is learnt, came under tremendous pressure from the England board to not to press charges. At the pre-Test press conference, he didn't hold back. "At a press conference, you can ask me tough questions. I have the right to answer or not to answer them, but in no way can I go and touch you. Or you can come and touch me."
Read: BCCI goes missing as Anderson-Jadeja spat gets bigger
"We talk a lot about the spirit of cricket, and there are guidelines that need to be followed," he said.
England, who will contest the charges, believes India is making "a mountain out of a molehill". Skipper Alastair Cook told media the accusations were merely a tactic to get rid of Anderson threat. "It's probably a tactic from India and we can rally behind him. Hopefully we get the ball swinging and Anderson will want to let his cricket do the talking," he said.
Read: Anderson claim is tactic by India, says Cook