Black Caps veteran Ross Taylor was the victim of alleged abuse from fans on Wednesday, in an incident that threatened to mar what is expected to be an enthralling last day of cricket's inaugural World Test Championship final in Southampton.
Two fans were thrown out of the Rose Bowl by security officials after hurling abuse at the Black Caps on day five of the decider against India.
While a New Zealand Cricket spokesperson told the Herald the nature of the abuse was unclear, viewers claimed some of the insults heard during a broadcast of the day's play were racist — and aimed at the 37-year-old Taylor during his innings.
A fan watching on TV made the International Cricket Council (ICC) aware on Twitter of crowd abuse during the final session, while New Zealand were fielding.
Loud shouting by some fans — which echoed around the sparsely populated ground — would also have ruined the experience for some Kiwi fans watching the game on television in the middle of the night.
It dominated proceedings for a large part of the fifth day, although much of what was being shouted was unintelligible, and New Zealand commentator Simon Doull made a veiled reference to it at one point.
In a statement to the Herald, an ICC spokesperson said: "We received reports of abuse directed at the New Zealand players. Our security team were able to identify the culprits and they were ejected from the ground. We will not tolerate any sort of abusive behaviour in cricket."
In an end-of-play interview, Black Caps bowler Tim Southee said he wasn't aware of fans being taken from the ground.
"It's the first I've heard of it ... the game's always played in good spirit on the field, we're not sure what happened off the field."
Taylor was caught in the covers by Shubman Gill off the bowling of Mohammed Shami for 11 runs in the Black Caps' first innings of 249.
Virat Kohli (8 not out) and Cheteshwar Pujara (12 not out) were set to resume the Indian second innings on 64-2, a lead of just 32 runs. The Black Caps require another eight wickets, and whatever target they're set by India, to win after Southee (2-17) claimed the early scalps of Gill (8) and Rohit Sharma (30).
England fast bowler Ollie Robinson was embroiled in controversy during the drawn first test against New Zealand in the lead-up to the WTC final, when offensive social media posts he made as a teenager resurfaced on the first day at Lord's.
Robinson was stood down for the second test, in Birmingham, which the Black Caps won by eight wickets.