Virat Kohli calls for strict action against offenders after India’s Mohammed Siraj, Jasprit Bumra and Ravichandran Ashwin complained about receiving racial abuse

An investigation has been launched after six spectators were thrown out on day four of the match at the Sydney Cricket Ground SCG.

Australian cricket chiefs have apologised to the visiting Indian team after its players alleged they were racially abused by parts of the crowd during the third Test in Sydney.

Cricket Australia (CA), along with New South Wales Police, have launched an investigation into the accusations of abuse and has promised to take the “strongest measures” against anyone found guilty.

Sean Carroll, the organisation’s head of integrity and security, said in a statement it was “most regrettable” that the contest had “been tarnished by the actions of a small number of spectators over the past two days”.

“As hosts, we once again apologise to the Indian team,” he added.

Trouble began on Saturday 9th January, when the touring team made an official complaint after play finished on day three of the five-day match.

Bowlers Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj complained of hearing racist slurs while fielding near the boundary.

On Sunday, Siraj approached the umpire pointing towards the stands and play was suspended as police threw six people from a reduced crowd of 10,000 out of the ground.

CCTV footage was being checked to help the investigation and any fans identified as engaging in racial abuse would be banned from the SCG and other major stadia in Sydney, said stadium operator Venues New South Wales.

“It is definitely not acceptable in this day and age. This must definitely be dealt with iron-fist and we must make sure it doesn’t happen again,” he said.

India’s usual captain Virat Kohli, who is in India for the birth of his first child, said on Twitter: “It’s sad to see this happen on the field.” He called for “strict action against the offenders”.

Australia coach Justin Langer joined the condemnation, calling it “upsetting” and “disappointing”.

“It’s one of my greatest pet hates in life that people think they can come to a sporting event and abuse or say whatever they like. I hated it as a player and I hate it as a coach. It’s really sad to see it happen in Australia,” he said.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) said the Indian team had informed match referee David Boon of the alleged racial abuse, adding the governing body was “incredibly disappointed” by events.

Under ICC rules, CA must submit a report within two weeks.