The First Test in Bombay had seen Australia take a first innings lead. The match was marred by a controversial umpiring decision on the fourth day when Srinivas Venkataraghavan was given out caught behind after missing the ball by roughly a foot, a decision that most of the Australians felt to be wrong. In the meantime, the public address system declared that Lawry and his men had cheated. It resulted in crowd rioting; The spectators lit fires and threw projectiles after Lawry refused to adjourn the match, contrary to police advice that warned them to run for their lives. During the chaos, Johnny Gleeson was hit in the head by a bottle, and when the teams left the field at the end of the Indian innings, Lawry was hit by a flying chair. Australia went on to win the match and more trouble came in the Fourth Test at Eden Gardens.
A surge in the demand for tickets caused a last day stampede, which resulted in running battles between fans and police, leaving six dead and hundred injured. This was exacerbated by protests by the Communist Party of India (CPI), a major political party in West Bengal, against Doug Walters. Walters had been conscripted during the Vietnam War, although he was never sent to Vietnam to fight against the CPI's Vietcong brethen. Nevertheless, CPI activists erected posters across the city claiming that Walters was a killer and around 10,000 communists picketed the Australian hotel and some eventually broke in and vandalised it.
On the field, there were more riots following an Indian batting collapse. Spectators on the top deck of the stands threw rocks onto those below, prompting those in the lower positions to invade the playing arena. This interrupted Australia's successful run-chase. During the stoppage, Lawry had an on-field altercation with a local photographer who had run onto the ground, pushing the pressman away with his bat. The Indian newspapers reported that Lawry had knocked the man over and then hit him. Lawry and his batting partner Keith Stackpole claimed that he had tried to shepherd the photographer from the playing area, who then stumbled and fell. In any case, the crowd responded by stoning the Australian bus as they left the ground following their victory, having taken an unassailable 2-1 series lead. Following the incident, the Indian media began to wear black armbands.Thus to the wicket-keeping incident, which occurred in the following match against South Zone at Bangalore.
Alan Connolly was bowling medium pace off-cutters to Indian off spinner Erapalli Prasanna, with Australia's reserve wicketkeeper Ray Jordon standing up to the stumps. Prasanna heaved at one of the deliveries, and after an apparently long delay, the bails fell to the ground.
Jordon claimed that Connolly had bowled Prasanna. Prasanna disagreed and stood his ground, and the umpires and other players were not offering an opinion one way or the other. However, Prasanna eventually walked after Jordon repeatedly insisted that he was out.
According to Ashley Mallett, the ball appeared to go down the leg side and then the leg stump pushed forward! Ian Chappell reported in one of his books, Long Hops and Larrikins, that Doug Walters had informed him that the ball had missed the stumps by a notable margin, bounced off Jordon's pads and back onto the stumps, with Prasanna's leg firmly rooted behind the line.
The Australians then had an altercation in the dressing room after some members, foremost among them Chappell, accused Jordon of cheating. Chappell (SA) reported that Jordon (VIC) accused him of being accustomed to cheating because it was a natural trait of South Australians to do so, further inflaming tensions among the tourists. (South Australia and Victoria are the two main states in Australia where Australian rules football dominates. Queensland and New South Wales prefer to play rugby. This has led to a rather bitter feeling of rivalry between a large proportion of sports oriented people from both pairs of states, especially magnified by the state of origin games, particularly among South Australians who feel that the more populous Victoria has undue influence and carriest itself in an arrogant manner.)
Nevertheless, such interstate tensions are always close to the surface, even if in a light-hearted manner. Mallett (SA) spoke at a recent cricket conference held in Adelaide during this season's Test match. The issue of India came up as the Mumbai bombings had occurred overnight. This was especially ironic as the convenor of the conference had made a speech the day before about Caucasian cricket nations being paranoid about safety in Asia. In any case, the tumultuous events of the 1969-70 tour came up in comparison to the terrorist bombings and Mallett was talking about notorious and successful appeal for caught behind against Venkat in the First Test in Bombay, alleging that the only Australians who appealed were "all Victorian"!
Eventually, nothing further came of the incident, after Bill Lawry stepped in and stopped the fighting. Jordon can count himself lucky that there was no meaningful television coverage of the event, let alone slow motion replays. If a replay of the incident had occurred on the giant screen at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, a large scale pitch invasion and attack on the players would have been almost inevitable, given the controversy and tumult that surrounded Australia's campaign. Aside from that, Jordon would probably have faced a ban for (flagrantly) dishonest conduct, if his career had not already been terminated by broken limbs from mob justice.
However, a week later, Mallett reported to Chappell that Jordon had been sleeptalking and apologising about his illegitimate intervention in Prasanna's dismissal.
The latest incident is another reason for the increasing use of technology. In recent ICC trials of the challenge and referral system, there was a notable decline in the amount of nonsensical and pot luck appeals, which would indicate that not all appeals are spontaneous, nor are their magnitude. At the very least, it would prevent dubious decisions such as in Sydney last year or yesterday, that have the ability to inflame tensions across society. Whether Haddin engaged in foul play or not may be hard to ascertain, but at least naked dishonesty in the manner of Jordon is no longer possible. Hopefully in future, such incidents become rarer yet.