Former Australia captain Steve Waugh says the fiery second morning of the second Test in Bengaluru "unsettled" current skipper Steve Smith and had an adverse effect on his batting in the first innings.
But Waugh has also praised Smith's tactical nous, saying the way the skipper has rotated his bowlers and moved his fielders has been a big contributor to Australia's strong start in the series.
The flashpoint of an enthralling contest so far came on Sunday morning at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium when rival skippers Smith and Virat Kohli had a heated exchange during Australia's innings.
Smith was eventually dismissed for eight from 52 enthralling deliveries and Waugh believes the on-field banter with his opposite number had a negative effect on the Aussie skipper.
"I think Virat Kohli here in Bangalore has been a little over the top (with his actions on the field)," Waugh said in a Facebook Live session on his page.
"Having said that, I think Steve Smith, it affected his batting in the first innings. It was probably the most unsettled ... I’ve seen him.
"Maybe they both need to pull it back a bit, but it’s great viewing for the spectators. It reminds me a bit of Sourav (Ganguly) and myself back in our day.
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"I just see that as two passionate players really enjoying playing Test cricket for their country.
"A lot is at stake, they both have aspirations to be the best batsman in the world, they want to be the best captain as possible.
"So there’s always going to be a bit of angst against players at this level. They both represent the attitude of the rest of the team."
The fuse was lit for a fiery day of Test cricket on Sunday when an accidental collision between Aussie opener Matt Renshaw and India spinner Ravi Ashwin led to the two skippers exchanging words.
And the emotions continued to run high as Smith faced up to the Indian bowlers; he was extremely animated during the early stages of his innings, with each leave outside off stump followed by a vigorous swing of the bat towards the bowler and a thunderous call of "no".
It got to the point where fast bowler Ishant Sharma started mocking the visiting captain, to which Smith replied with a wobble of his head.
While Smith fell cheaply in the first innings in Bengaluru, it's been a rare low point of a series that included a masterful century in the first Test and has seen him expertly marshal his troops out in the middle.
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India's ongoing second innings at the Chinnaswammy Stadium is the first time in four innings this series that the hosts have posted more than 200 runs.
And while Waugh believes Smith has underbowled allrounder Mitchell Marsh, he's been impressed by the skipper's work in the middle.
"I think he’s done a superb job rotating his bowlers," Waugh said.
"He may have missed a bit of a trick here in Bangalore by not bowling Mitch Marsh enough.
"The workload on the four frontline bowlers has been quite heavy and at some stage they’re going to tire. Mitch Marsh needs a bit more bowling.
"I think his field placements have been very, very good. The think tank have worked out a plan for each particular batsman, you can the (Australia) players are playing to that really well.
"This Australia team know what they’re doing, they’re well led and Smith is growing in his leadership capabilities."
India (for first two Tests): Virat Kohli (c), Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravichandaran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Karun Nair, Jayant Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, Abhinav Mukund, Hardik Pandya.
Australia: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Ashton Agar, Jackson Bird, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Stephen O'Keefe, Matthew Renshaw, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade
Australia's schedule in India
Feb 23-27, First Test, Pune
Mar 4-8, Second Test, Bengaluru
Mar 16-20, Third Test, Ranchi
Mar 25-29, Fourth Test, Dharamsala