Mumbai: The World Cup final between India and Sri Lanka was plunged into controversy before a ball was bowled at the Wankhede Stadium on Saturday when the toss had to be performed twice.
After India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni spun the coin, it looked as if he thought he had won the toss.
But match referee Jeff Crowe did not hear a call from Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara who, as the visiting skipper was supposed to nominate 'heads' or 'tails' while the coin was in the air.
Commentator Ravi Shastri, the former India all-rounder, who was 'hosting' the toss, said the coin had fallen heads the first time.
There were then a few moments of confusion before Crowe said he had not heard the call and so ordered a re-toss -- an almost unheard of event in any cricket match and certainly one of this importance.
At the second toss, Dhoni threw the coin up again and Sangakkara called 'heads' before electing to bat -- something India would have almost certainly have done if the coin had fallen in their captain's favour.
The incident immediately sparked an Internet outcry with blog posts alleging everything from gamesmanship to skull-duggery.
But replays of the toss carried out by host broadcaster ESPN Star Sports established clearly that Sangakkara had called 'heads' first time as well.
However, in the noise generated by a 33,000 capacity crowd, Dhoni misheard it as 'tails", which is why he turned to Shastri, in the middle to conduct post-toss television interviews with both captains, and said: "We'll bat."
But neither Shastri, who had no official role in determining the outcome of the toss, nor Crowe had heard Sangakkara's call.
When Shastri looked towards the 52-year-old Crowe, the former Test batsman said: "I didn't hear it," hence the need for a re-toss.
It was not the first time Crowe had found himself involved in World Cup final controversy.
Four years ago in Barbados, when Australia beat Sri Lanka, Crowe was the match referee who oversaw a mistake that led to the game resuming in farcical scenes amidst near total darkness.
The match officials had forgotten that, as 20 overs had been bowled in the second innings, a result could be declared.
Crowe, when pressed at a post-match news conference, blamed that error on now retired South African umpire Rudi Koertzen, who was the television replay official for that match.