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Australia captain Ricky Ponting has defended his decision to report India spinner Harbhajan Singh over the incident which incited a tour-threatening row between the teams.

Harbhajan was found to have racially abused Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds by match referee Mike Procter after an incident during the second Test in Sydney.

India skipper Anil Kumble revealed on Wednesday that he attempted to convince Ponting not to proceed with a formal complaint against Harbhajan.

That was never an option, according to the Tasmanian, who insisted the matter was out of his control once he had spoken to on-field umpires Steve Bucknor and Mark Benson.

"I carried out my duties as captain," he said. "It's not about me reporting anybody, it's the umpires' job to do that and that's what they did.

"When we sat down at the end and I had a really good chat with him and the Indian management and the few other players that were there, I said, 'look, this is not about us, this is a big issue in the game and I want to move on.

'When this is done I want us to play the best series we can from here on' - and he agreed with that," he added on Channel Nine’s A Current Affair programme.

Harbhajan was handed a three-match ban by Procter, with India subsequently threatening to withdraw from the tour if their player was not exonerated.

An appeal is pending, although it is unclear whether it will take place before the scheduled start of the third Test in Perth next Wednesday.
 
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