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Watch: 17-year-old Harbhajan gives Ponting a fiery send-off, gets shoulder barge in return in epic duel from 1998

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Watch: Harbhajan Singh’s rivalry with Ricky Ponting is one for the ages, beginning all the way back in 1998, when the India spinner, playing just his fourth ODI, handed the Australia cricketer a fiery send-off after claiming his wicket.

Ponting, considered one of the greatest batters of the game, was often troubled by the spin of Harbhajan Singh, getting dismissed by him 13 times in international cricket. No other cricketer got Ponting’s wicket more than the India player. The rivalry between the two players dates back to the late Nineties, when Bhajji, playing just his fourth ODI, stumped Ponting, following which the two exchanged a few heated words.

Australia and India faced off during the sixth ODI of the Coca-Cola Cup in Sharjah, a tri-series that also featured New Zealand. Harbhajan, who had made his debut earlier in the tournament, entered the match in decent form: he had picked up four wickets in his first three games, including a 3-41 when India played Australia during the first clash.


After winning the toss and opting to bat first, the Australians lost Adam Gilchrist in the fourth over, but the innings was steadied by Ponting and Mark Waugh. The former, in particular, opted for a more aggressive route, smashing a quick 31 in 26 balls, including a four and a six in the 14th over, which was bowled by Harbhajan.

The spinner, however, had the last laugh, as he got Ponting stumped in the very same over with wicketkeeper Nayan Mongia whipping off the bails in the flash of an eye. As Ponting was walking back, Harbhajan let out a huge roar before pointing to the pavilion, which did not impress the batter, who barged into Harbhajan and let out a volley of words.

The incident did not leave the on-air commentators impressed, who questioned Harbhajan’s actions. “What was the bowler doing shouting at the batter like that?” “There’s no need to shout as the batter was anyway walking back to the pavilion. Harbhajan Singh is just taking out his frustration for being expensive in the two overs.”

It was the only wicket that Harbhajan got in the game, as he ended with 1-63 in eight overs.

Watch Harbhajan Singh and Ricky Ponting engage in a fiery battle in 1998 here:

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