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Sunday, January 06, 2008

Australia XIV against India XI

The three additional players on the Australian team were none from their playing staff - they were the three umpires who were officially part of the match. They conspired against the Indians on many decisions to make the match a record-equalling 16th victory for the Aussies. These decisions were quite crucial in the context of the match:
* Ricky Ponting was given not out when he edged one from Sourav Ganguly to MS Dhoni. Ponting was 18 at that instant. He went on to make 55, sharing a fifty-run partnership with Hussey.
* Ricky Ponting again - this time he was given lbw to a ball from Harbhajan that showed a big inside-edge. Mike Benson was the erring official on both the occasions.
* Andrew Symonds - When he was on 30, he snicked one from Ishant Sharma to MS Dhoni. Steve Bucknor had not heard the nick that even members sitting in the stands could.
* Andrew Symonds - On 55, MS Dhoni stumped him of the bowling of Anil Kumble. But, the third umpire (for a change) ruled in the favour of the batsman.
* Andrew Symonds - After scoring his century, he was stumped by MS Dhoni off Harbhajan Singh. Steve Bucknor did not have the patience to call for the third umpire!!!
* Wasim Jaffer - He was bowled by Brett Lee of a no-ball. This is probably an occurence that happens frequently on the cricketing field. Probably, not glaring as that of the others.
* Rahul Dravid - The decisive decision on the final day - given caught behind off Symonds when the ball grazed past the pads. The bat was tucked well behind the pads as the replays suggested. Steve Bucknor being the culprit again.
* Sourav Ganguly - Unlucky on two counts - the ball appeared to be a bump ball and Clarke grounded it after he had caught it. But, the umpire Benson thought he should consult the opposing captain Ricky Ponting for clarification instead of his square-leg counterpart or the third umpire. Again, an important decision in the context of the game for Sourav had scored 51 and was looking good for more.

The Aussies on their part, seemed to be bent on winning it any way possible and not the right way. This was evident in the way Ricky Ponting behaved during the last appeal. Also, the way Michael Clarke stood his ground when he had in fact edged to first slip of Anil Kumble showed that the Aussies have the tendency to stoop low when the going gets tough.

Is this the way they wanted to equal their earlier record of 16 wins? The Champion teams should show that they are capable of winning it fairly and be willing to correct a wrong decision if they see one. It is sad that this team does not want to play in the right spirit. For this aspect alone, this team stands below Steve Waugh's Australians or Clive Lloyd's Windies.
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