Cricket: Emotions Spill over after Australia Win

By Julian Linden - Reuters

SYDNEY , Jan 6: The fractured relationship between the Australian and Indian cricket teams reached a new low on Sunday after Australia staged an amazing comeback to win the second test by 122 runs.

Part-time spinner Michael Clarke captured three wickets in the penultimate over to deny India a draw and ensure Australia retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy and equalled their own world record of 16 successive victories.

But their incredible victory was overshadowed by a bitter outburst from the Indians, who accused the Australians of unsportsmanlike behaviour and called on the International Cricket Council (ICC) to sack the two umpires that handled the match.

"Only one team was playing with the spirit of the game," Indian captain Kumble said, borrowing a similar line to Bill Woodfull's immortal comment during the 1932-33 Bodyline series.

The Indian team manager Chetan Chauhan said the tourists were so upset at the performances of the two on-field umpires, West Indian Steve Bucknor and England's Mark Benson, that they planned to lodge an official protest at their handling of the match.

"I have been informed by the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) that they are lodging a strong protest with the ICC, so that some of the incompetent umpires do not umpire in the rest of the series," Chauhan said.


The tourists had been faced with the daunting challenge of batting through 72 overs to salvage a draw on a turning Sydney Cricket Ground pitch to keep the series alive but came up agonisingly short.

They made no attempt at chasing down the 333 they had been set to win but held out realistic hopes of hanging on for a draw when they started the second last over with three wickets in hand.

But Clarke, who had managed just one run with the bat in the match, manufactured an astonishing over to seal Australia's win by dismissing Harbhajan Singh, RP Singh and Irfan Pathan in five balls.

Ponting, who lodged a complaint about Harbhajan during the match for allegedly racially abusing Andrew Symonds, said Australia's win was among the best he had ever been involved in during his long career.

"My overall emotion and feeling at the end of the game was as good a feeling as I've ever had on a cricket field," he said.

"To win a test like that, coming down to the last eight or 10 minutes on the fifth day is very special."

Australia were not even entertaining thoughts of winning when they trailed by 69 runs on the first innings but gave themselves a chance of victory when they piled on the runs in the second dig.

Mike Hussey made an unbeaten 145 and man of the match Symonds (61), allowing Ponting to declare before lunch on the last day and give his bowlers just over two sessions to manufacture a result.

India's hopes of saving the match suffered an early setback when they lost out-of-form opener Wasim Jaffer, Sachin Tendulkar and Vangipurappu Laxman but Rahul Dravid and Saurav Ganguly consolidated the innings.

Dravid was the victim of another umpiring blunder after tea but the tourists still looked to have done enough to avoid defeat when Ponting tossed the ball to Clarke in desperation and the match took one last twist.

"The last 30 or 40 minutes of the day's play was about gambling, about rolling the dice," Ponting said.


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Comment on this article

  • Alfred J. Rebello, Kundapur/Dubai

    Mon, Jan 07 2008

    The match between India & Australia at Sydney won by the umpires rather Australia. However India showed true spirit. Here I give two incidents. When Yuvraj Singh got out in the second innings, he did not even wait for the umpire to raise the finger to give him out, he just walked out even though India was in danger. But when Symonds knew he got out he should have walked.

    Australia, no doubt is the best team in the game but the worst when it comes to behaviour. If I remember correctly racism started by the Kangaroos. But when it came back to them they can not bear it. By calling a man a monkey, we are insulting the monkey rather the man. Therefore, I don't think Harbhajan called a man a monkey.

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  • bava shabu, uchila/dammam

    Mon, Jan 07 2008

    I think there is match fixing with umpires for the new record of Ponting is baby captain.He dont know how to behave in the field and respect seniors.Better India withdraw rest of the tour to show them, good sportsman spirit is how important.

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  • Allan D'costa, kinnigoli/abudhabi

    Mon, Jan 07 2008

    There is no need now for the Indians to play or even stay over there.because even though officially Indians have lost this match all Indian fans know that India have won by showing the true spirit of the game.  This is not new as everybody knows about this discrimination which takes place everywhere where white skin is present.and not to forget the black skin among the white skin that is THE FAMOUS STEVE BUCKNOR.

    We don't know what is his problem against India.always he does the same thing,be it Australia or anywhere India plays.It is better he retires and goes back home as he cannot see properly what goes on.anyways India should not lose heart and play as they were before,because they know that the whole country and millions of NRI are with them.

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  • denzil fernandes, dubai

    Mon, Jan 07 2008

    Indians win the hearts of their supporters in Sydney. Emotions were bound to spill especially after the Sydney test was turned into a no contest by the umpires. Messrs. Benson and Bucknor turned the match into a farce with some atrocious decisions throughout. The Australians exhibited a very poor sporting spirit while appealing for catches which were not there and getting the benefit from the umpires.

    Despite the unfamiliar conditions on the field, skipper Kumble and his boys were exceptionally cool and accepted the defeat gracefully. That is what cricket is all about. Although no more a gentleman's game, the Indians behaved pretty well despite all odds. The Indian batsmen scored freely and with a bit of luck could have drawn the match. The ICC heads have to raise their heads and control the game which seems to go away from them.

    Every cricket board is wielding their influence and Australia showed their clout while influencing the decision to ban spinner Harbhajan for alleged racist remarks against Andrew Symonds. With no tv or any other evidence, Match Referee Mike Proctor took a decision which will be challenged by the Indian Board in the days to come. Although Harbhajan is no saint, the process under which the decision was taken comes under scrutiny and objection. All in all, the Indians proved that they are no more a weak team anymore.

    The Aussies had to resort to various means to achieve victory. But then, aren't the Aussies known for such tactics which have been in their armoury for ages. Ponting, despite the series win, turned out to be a pathetic captain and an unfair one at that. The third test will not be interesting any more for the Indians after the setback in the first two tests. Probably Jaffer, Yuvraj and Harbhajan will make way for Sehwag, Karthik and V.R.V.Singh unless the seniors also decide to take a break.

    Likewise, umpire Bucknor should also be off the test umpiring panel for good if the ICC decides to take action. What was predicted to be a thrilling series petered out to be a poor contest thanks mainly to the hapless umpires who deserve to be sent back to their barracks on the first flight home.

    The men in white coats in the middle of the field showed their black hearts to everyone's dismay. The cricket loving Australian public will surely vent their anger despite their home team's victory. Every team likes to win but let them win in a fair and forthright manner.

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  • Kevin Lobo, Mangalore

    Mon, Jan 07 2008

    Australian team should be banned from playing any international cricket. The umpires Benson and Buckner should be banned for life and should be severely fined for their misdeeds. The game was played unprofessionally by Aussies and no one in the current team command respect. Till now BCCI was sleeping and now at the last minute they have woke up and its of no use. They should have recalled the Indian team in protest.

    This is the right time Powar and Company to take moral responsibility and resign from their posts and hand over the mantle to efficient ex cricketers like Kapil Dev, Srikanth, Sidhu and similar Indian greats. With this Australian team proved that they are not world champions but they are world "CHEATERS". Second test match was won by Aussies thanks to cheating umpires.

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