RELATIONS between Australia and India exploded again after Murali Vijay claimed a grounded catch before cameras captured Steve Smith calling him a "f---ing cheat".
The second "cheating" scandal of this series blew up when Indian players were called back on to the field after sprinting off, thinking the Australian innings was over.
Umpires were left in no doubt from replays that Vijay had appealed for a catch from No.11 Josh Hazlewood when the ball had bounced into his hands.
Australian batting coach Graeme Hick was prepared to give Vijay the benefit of the doubt, but the fact the Indian skipper expressed zero doubt about the clearly doubtful moment as he ran from the field raised eyebrows, with on-field umpires none too happy.
Cameras scanned up to the Australian dressingrooms to show Smith - who had left his seat to prepare to field - mouthing the expletive-laden assessment of Vijay.
Smith had been accused of systematic cheating by Indian captain Virat Kohli after the second Test when he admitted a "brain fade" had prompted him to look up to the rooms when contemplating a DRS referral.
Steve Smith walks off the ground after a disappointing day for the Aussies. Picture: AFP
The incident at the time threatened to send the series into meltdown with Kohli refusing to provide proof of his accusations.
The Vijay incident had no tangible impact on the deciding Test, with Hazlewood out to spinner Ravi Ashwin two balls later anyway.
But Vijay's actions and Smith's response was again another big talking point post-play - as was Matthew Wade's fiery ongoing verbal war with Ravi Jadeja and India.
Smith - who has been wronged by broadcaster Star Sports already this series for making a mocking gesture to Kohli in Ranchi that he never made - is unlikely to be impressed at his outburst going to air.
Australian assistant Hick defended Vijay and refused to comment on Smith's words.
"I haven't seen that part of it but we have our own little pods watching it and the ball definitely touched the ground," Hick said.
Australia was left shattered as its dreams of regaining the Border-Gavaskar Trophy went up in flames on day three.
"You could hear a pin drop today in the dressingroom," Hick said.
"Hard day today. The boys are pretty down. It's about giving it a good crack in the morning, but I would say it's a tough ask.
"We had another 150 runs in that first innings (left on the table). With that we're in the game.
"While today was very disappointing, it's not the only reason we find ourselves in this position."
Umpire Marais Erasmus talks to a group of Indian players after another controversial day. Picture: AFP
Wade and a handful of Indians were also involved in an ugly verbal clash late on day three. The flashpoint followed Glenn Maxwell's dismissal and unsuccessful review.
Wade marched over to India's celebratory huddle, apparently taking exception to something that was said.
Ravichandran Ashwin, who trapped Maxwell LBW, attempted to play peacemaker by shepherding Wade away from the row.
Tensions simmered temporarily when umpires Marais Erasmus and Ian Gould delivered separate lectures to two groups of Indian players.
However, Wade soon came face-to-face with Vijay while officials were trying to restore order.
The entire four-Test series has been tense, including the final match.
Wade and Ravindra Jadeja swapped barbs during the latter's game-changing knock of 63 on Monday.
"You called me it. I just want to know what it is," Wade said after Jadeja addressed him in Hindi.
"I just want to know what it is, hello?
"We're all right, I'll get a selfie with him at the end of the game. We'll put it on Instagram."
Jadeja, according to Indian media outlets, quipped: "If you will start it ... I will give it back to you".
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