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India v Australia 2023

Jadeja mystery substance was pain-relief cream, India tell match referee

Ravindra Jadeja of India celebrates taking the wicket of Steve Smith during day one of the First Test match between India and Australia
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

The mystery substance Ravindra Jadeja was seen applying to his bowling hand during day one of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy was pain-relief cream, India have told the match referee.

According to ESPNcricinfo, India captain Rohit Sharma and Jadeja met with ICC match referee Andy Pycroft to clear up any controversy, after Jadeja was spotted applying an unidentified substance to his finger.

After India had bowled Australia out for just 177 in the first innings of the first Test match in Nagpur, videos emerged on social media which showed Jadeja taking a substance from Mohammad Siraj’s hand and rubbing it into his left hand – in particular, his index finger on his bowling hand.


At the point where Jadeja was seen using the substance, Australia were 120-5 and Jadeja had already claimed three wickets in quick succession. Once play had finished, Pycroft showed Jadeja, Rohit and the India team manager the video to make them aware of the circulating footage. The substance was identified as pain relief cream and no charge was laid against Jadeja or the India team.

Jadeja made a mighty return to Test cricket after spending six months on the sidelines with a knee injury. He took five wickets in his 22 overs and conceded just 2.13 runs per over. He was India’s most impressive bowler ahead of R Ashwin, who took three wickets in Australia’s innings, and bowled the most overs of any Indian.

Following speculation before the start of the Test of alleged pitch-doctoring, some Australian commentators questioned the footage of Jadeja applying the substance – with former Test captain Tim Paine labelling it “interesting”.

Michael Vaughan said this was something he had never seen and asked on Twitter, “What is he putting on his spinning finger?”

The matter has now been resolved and there was never any suggestion of foul play from the match officials or from Australia.

At tea on day two of the Test, India had reached 226-5 with Rohit having hit his first century as captain of the Test match side. He was finally dismissed by Pat Cummins for 120, with India leading by 52 runs at the time of his dismissal.

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