Paceman Josh Hazlewood has been fined 15 per cent of his match fee by the ICC for a foul-mouthed blast at umpires that reopened debate about the use of the sound effects mike by broadcasters.
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Josh Hazelwood and Steve Smith give the umpires a verbal spray after an LBW appeal goes against Australia during the second cricket test against New Zealand.
The Australians' behaviour was condemned by commentators, former and current players and on social media, critics labelling their conduct as "intolerable".
Hazlewood was charged with dissent after play and pleaded guilty for his fiery "who the f--- is the third umpire" crack at field umpire Ranmore Martinesz. Captain Steve Smith appears to have escaped censure for his remonstrations with Martinesz.
Hazlewood, a first-time offender, could not be suspended for his outburst under the ICC's permissible sanctions, and was fined just 15 per cent of his match fee.
One of the more genial members of the fast bowling cartel, Hazlewood lost his cool after having a contentious lbw decision against Kane Williamson turned down by Martinesz and video umpire Richard Illingworth.
Illingworth ruled in favour of Williamson after detecting a hot spot mark at the base of the batsman's inside edge. Therefore, the referral did not proceed to the ball tracker, which would have overturned the not out decision.
An infuriated Hazlewood approached Martinesz, who was already in discussions with an angry Smith, telling the umpire the ball had hit Williamson's shoe before asking incredulously "who the f--- is the third umpire?".
Hazlewood also hurled abuse at New Zealand batsman Corey Anderson as players left the field for lunch and was spoken to by umpires.
Smith was also heard swearing while addressing Martinesz. Jackson Bird later defended the pair's actions.
"Test cricket is a hard game and sometimes tempers can boil over and people can get frustrated," Bird said.
"It's quite easy to get frustrated in Test cricket. I don't think anyone stepped over the line but if they did the ICC will take that out of our hands."
The Hazlewood episode has prompted players to again call for the sound effects microphones to be turned off. Former captain Michael Clarke was fined close to $3000 for his famous "get ready for a broken f------ arm" sledge to England tailender James Anderson during the 2013-14 Ashes.
The comments were picked up on Channel Nine's stump microphone and beamed to a huge national audience. The network later apologised to Clarke.
"We're all for having technology in the game and it's great for viewers at home," Bird said. "I don't see why the stump mics need to be broadcast to the whole world and I'm not sure why they were."
Bird was backed up on social media by recently retired quicks Mitchell Johnson and Ryan Harris.
Former Kiwi Test players Ian Smith and Mark Richardson condemned Australia's aggressive behaviour towards the umpire.
"I'm sorry, but that's intolerable," Richardson said in the commentary. "There's a few players out there that need to come to the realisation they do the playing, not the umpiring."
Injured quick Mitchell Starc defended his teammates, saying players could not win no matter how they behaved.
"We aren't allowed to show frustration or disappointment or over-celebrate for that matter," Starc tweeted. Starc was fined half his match fee in November for hurling the ball at a batsman, and reprimanded last summer for what the ICC described as an "exaggerated celebration" in the face of a batsman.
The drama has reopened discussions over Australia's on-field behaviour. The team has been well behaved under Smith but cracks showed after a frustrating opening session where they failed to strike, had a wicket overturned by the video umpire, two unsuccessful referrals, two dropped catches and another two chances just fall short of fielders.
Anderson said the Black Caps could detect Australia's growing impatience.
"That builds up and you either let the lid off and something happens or you take a pile and it comes back in your favour," Anderson said.