Hobart, Feb 27 (UNI) Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has said Australians had turned sledging into an art form that India needs to catch up with.
''It's an art and they are good at it, but the Indians will learn soon,'' Dhoni said after India's seven-wicket victory over Sri Lanka here yesterday.
Reacting to the incident in which Ishant Sharma was provoked by Andrew Symonds into the reaction that earned the young bowler an ICC reprimand and fine, Dhoni said Ishant had every right to do what he did.
''It's (provocation) been going on for a long time,'' Dhoni said. ''We have to be careful about it and if they provoke us we need to mind what we say. Ishant just reacted to what Symonds said.'' Ishant was fined 15 per cent of his match fee by the referee, for sending Symonds off with words after dismissing him in Sunday's game against Australia at the SCG. Though the Indian team management accepted the verdict, they also asked match referee to speak to the Aussies about their provocative behaviour in the field. They even cited as evidence specific instances in the previous two CB Series clashes between the teams.
However, Dhoni, who had double the reason to celebrate the win - his side's entry into the finals as well as him completing 100 ODI catches - defended a series that has never been too far from reaching boiling point.
''Cricket can never be friendly. As long as the rivalry never crosses the line it's fine,'' he said.
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