A group of people were removed from the stands at the SCG on the fourth day, with play suspended for 10 minutes, after Mohammed Siraj alerted the umpires and his team-mates to further alleged abuse from the crowd following directed at India players.
Siraj walked in from fine leg before the start of the 87th over, and conversations between the India team and on-field umpires Paul Reiffel and Paul Wilson followed before the officials made their way towards the Brewongle Stand at the Randwick End. The players remained huddled by the square with unbeaten batsman and Australia captain Tim Paine joining the India group.
The umpires soon joined by security staff while police entered the stands to identify individuals allegedly involved. A few minutes later a group of spectators were asked to leave the area and were removed from the stadium by New South Wales Police who have launched an investigation.
Sean Carroll, Cricket Australia’s Head of Integrity and Security, said the allegations made by the Indian team would be investigated by the board alongside the police.
“The abuse of cricketers by crowd members is not acceptable,” Carroll said. “We thank the Indian team for their vigilance in reporting today’s incident, which we are now in the process of investigating.
“While we await the outcome of the investigation by NSW Police, CA has launched its own inquiry into the matter. It is most regrettable that an otherwise excellent Test match contested in tremendous spirit by two friendly rivals has been tarnished by the actions of a small number of spectators over the past two days. As hosts, we once again apologise to the Indian team.”
Australia coach Justin Langer addressed the situation after play. “It’s upsetting and disappointing,” he said. “Anyone who knows me, I’ve said for years, it’s of my greatest pet hates in life that people think they can come to a sporting event, whether it’s cricket or any code, and think they can abuse or say whatever they like.
“We’ve seen it in different parts of the world and it’s really sad to see it happen in Australia. Our series so far has been played in such great spirit, it’s been incredible cricket, it’s a shame to see it getting marred by incidents that we are hearing about today and last night.”
The events followed India making officials aware after the third day’s play that they believed a group of players, including Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah, were subject to abuse, including racial abuse, from the crowd.
In response to yesterday’s initial abuse, Carroll had said in an earlier statement anyone who sought to vilify and/or harass had no place in Australian cricket.
“Cricket Australia condemns in the strongest terms possible all discriminatory behaviour,” he said. “If you engage in racist abuse, you are not welcome in Australian cricket.”
Kerrie Mather, Venues NSW’s Chief Executive, said CCTV footage was being reviewed to assist the investigation.
“At the SCG, we pride ourselves on welcoming anyone and everyone in a safe and inclusive environment. We are taking this extremely seriously. If those involved are identified, they will be banned from the SCG and all Venues NSW properties under our Act.”