Australia v India, 2nd Test, Sydney, 5th day January 6, 2008

Australia's attitude lacking in appeal

Australia could not believe it when they had several appeals turned down on the final day, but after the umpiring perks they received during the match they had nothing to complain about
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The decision that ended Rahul Dravid's resistance was one of many poor calls that went Australia's way © Getty Images
 

Andrew Symonds turned in disgust and threw darts with his eyes at Steve Bucknor. Mahendra Singh Dhoni had not played a shot to Symonds' offspin and the bowler was furious even though the ball was heading over the stumps. After the umpiring perks Symonds received during the match he had nothing to complain about.

On the last ball before tea it was Ricky Ponting who could not understand why Bucknor did not agree with a similar appeal against Rahul Dravid. Ponting crouched down and muttered as if nothing ever went his team's way. In this Test, from the moment Ponting's legside edge on day one went unnoticed by Mark Benson, almost everything did.

Symonds was the most fortunate man in the game. Following his batting reprieves, he was at the centre of another crucial decision that went against India and led to them losing the match. Poor Dravid, who battled to 38, was providing a formidable obstacle when he pushed his pad forward to Symonds and hid his bat and gloves behind his front leg. A sound was heard, Adam Gilchrist caught the ball, the Australians yelled and India's comfortable position of 3 for 115 was soon to be 6 for 137.

Bucknor was swayed in a ruling that was as bad as his miss of Symonds in the first innings. Listening to the edges has obviously become more difficult, but soon a fine servant may actually hear the calls for his retirement. The decisions contributed to India losing the Test, but the visiting players shook the hands of both officials after the match. While they took their caps off and lined up, the Australians danced, jumped and whooped in a manner that would have reminded the Indians of their World Twenty20 celebrations.

The noise of Symonds' nick on 31 was so loud it could have carried to the shoppers in nearby Oxford Street. Bucknor's decision cost India 131 runs and he also refused to call for the third umpire during a close stumping when Symonds was 148. Two days later Anil Kumble missed a hat-trick when Bucknor judged a wrong'un to be going over the stumps when Symonds pushed forward. He went on to score another 61.

Most Australian players believe luck evens itself out over a career, but their long-sightedness is not shared by visiting teams. Bob Woolmer reckoned Australia received almost six times more line-ball decisions than Pakistan during the 2004-05 series, and while it sounded like an exaggeration, the benefit of the doubt favours the home team in Australia and around the world

Umpires must feel like frontline soldiers on the final days of the Tests. Fielders crowd round the batsmen and they are shouted at every couple of balls over fantasy and non-fiction. Every country has its ways of pushing the rules and one of Australia's traditional pet hates was the amount of appealing conducted by teams from the subcontinent.

Shane Warne helped alter that view and on the final day his former team-mates were expert at trying to influence the officials with shouts at all volumes. (Despite the consistent requests, none was as ridiculous as Kumble's plea for an lbw of Brad Hogg in the first innings when the ball was struck through cover for two.) Benson was so worn down late in the afternoon that he sent a run-out call to the third umpire even though the batsman was in by a metre.

 
 
"Both arguments are about telling the truth. Why should Clarke be trusted to rule on a potentially match-turning catch when he stayed at the crease on day four after edging a ball to first slip?"
 

In the same session he had to deal with Michael Clarke's low catch off Sourav Ganguly, who stood with hand on hip as he waited for a decision. Of course the Australians raced to the fielder and swamped him. They were certain it was out, but Benson wasn't sure. He looked to Bucknor at square leg and then walked down the pitch and asked Ponting what he thought. "He caught it," Ponting seemed to say and put his finger up. Benson did the same.

Fortunately for Ponting, who gained credibility for the decision by refusing to accept a low catch in the first innings, the replays did not show the ball falling short. Typically, they also could not clear all doubt from the take. Ponting's noble request for all teams to have an honesty system for these incidents has been rejected by the rest of the world - he had a small victory before this series when Kumble agreed the captains would have the final say on contentious catches - and they must have squirmed when they saw Ponting relaying the message to the umpire.

Australians see catching differently to appealing and walking. They say it's up to the umpire to decide on edges and lbws, but when it comes to knowing whether a ball has carried, the fielder is the best person to judge. What they miss is that both arguments are about telling the truth. Why should Clarke be trusted to rule on a potentially match-turning catch when he stayed at the crease on day four after edging a ball to first slip?

One of Gilchrist's finest traits is he walks whenever he gets an edge, and claims to appeal only if he's sure the batsman has got a nick. Apart from Dravid, Gilchrist was the best-positioned player to know what Symonds' delivery had touched. It was definitely not bat or glove. Gilchrist also did not see the puff of dust from the ball bouncing after Dhoni hit it into his leg before ricocheting back to the wicketkeeper, who appealed with his team-mates for a catch. It was an easy decision for Bruce Oxenford, the television umpire.

Under Steve Waugh the Australians devised a Spirit of Cricket document that they swear by. They insist they play the game "hard and fair" and are shocked whenever their outlook is challenged. After emotional days like this it is hard to sympathise with their complaints.

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • soho77 on January 7, 2008, 16:14 GMT

    Action should be taken against Ricky Pointing for claiming a catch even after the ball had touched the ground. Rashid Latif was suspended for 5 matches after wrongly claiming a catch against Bangladesh. I don't understand why Pointings case hasn't been brought up yet!!!

  • Phiona on January 7, 2008, 12:13 GMT

    I must admit, that I was incredibly amused to read every single comment that has already been posted on this particular article. The hostility towards the Australian camp by the majority was outstanding. On one hand, I do understand how everyone is appaled by some of the decisons made throughout the Sydney Test, but everyone seems to forget that not every decision was in favour of the Australians. As much as one can argue that the decisions like the Symonds decision, which resulted in a century, cost India the match they must also remember that the Little Master should have been out before making his ton. However, no one seems to be up in arms about these decisions! Whilst the poor Umpiring DID affect the match, no one could argue that it is the SOLE reason India lost. That is just stupid. Australia isn't #1 in the world for nothing. And might I also add that Australia does NOT escape poor umpiring decisions, just look at the decision at Edgebastion in 2005 that cost them the Ashes!

  • badam.mallik on January 7, 2008, 10:40 GMT

    In reply to MR ACJ100 You are just calculating the numbers , it is no just numbers, it is about momentum. If symonds was given out then australlia would have been shutout for less than 200 in comparison to 461 then India will have the confidance and they can bat freely, this would make a lot of difference. Fvouring india 3 decisons and favouting Australlia 6. There is alot of difference not just few runs and also when Dravid was looking good and australlia's cahnces were going down then dravid was given out.

  • gzeuskraiste on January 7, 2008, 10:08 GMT

    The umpiring was awful, but not biased. Australia got plenty of bad decisions, eg: Tendulkar on 30. The reason journalists like Peter tend not to mention them is that Australia consistently win despite umpiring mistakes. With the losing sides you can speculate about them maybe winning if the decisions were correct. But it's just speculation. Nobody knows that the Australian middle order wouldn't have focussed harder if Ponting was given out caught behind off Sharma. Nobody knows that Dravid wouldn't have been out next ball if he wasn't given caught behind (which if you know anything about cricket, you know would have looked out from behind), or that India wouldn't have been behind on the first innings if Tendulkar was out LBW when he should have been.

    As for appealing, you're perfectly entitled to appeal when you think it's out, and even the ones Australia went up for that weren't out were at least close. Kumble and Harbhajan went up for plenty that were nowhere near.

  • spruse10 on January 7, 2008, 9:45 GMT

    Umpires are human and they made mistakes and they will make more in the future. The ignorant comments that they cheat just projects the image that India and its supporters are very poor losers. This is a shame because before this test I had immense respect for the manner in which they carried themselves. What separates a good team and a great team is how they can recover from a bad decision and move on with the game. I think what people have forgotten in this saga is that one of the key elements in the spirit of cricket is respect for the umpire and their decision. The actions and words of the players, media and supporters has taken the spirit of the game to a new low. Australia may not have walked but India has done far more damage to the game by openly attacking the umpires like this. Not only do the men in black and white have a largely under-appreciated job, they now have to contend with public humiliation at the hands of misguided individuals every time they make a decisio

  • sadaussie on January 7, 2008, 9:34 GMT

    Forget the poor umpiring decisions. It was a disgraceful show of arrogance by the Australians that has embarrassed all of their die hard supporters. What has happened to professionalism and humbleness in the face of victory. We all sat there and waited for Ponting to leave the circle of jumping Aussies to go and shake Kumble's hand, congratulate him on a fine innings, and his team on a fantastic effort. Instead he chose to do interviews, sledge commentators and not concede any credit to the Indians for their efforts. With regard to Harbajan, I do not condone of racism but this could have been dealt with in other ways. Ricky, you are a great batsmen but you have allowed a culture of poor sportsmanship and arrogance to creep in to the team and this will reputation will haunt your legacy to the sport. Please apologise to Australian supporters and get on with playing cricket in the spirit of the game.

  • JatinKapadia on January 7, 2008, 9:27 GMT

    This test match clearly shows why Australia are winners but not popular. West Indies were a super power in cricket in 70's and 80's but they were popular because they played the game in right spirit. This game proves that Australia don't Practice what they preach. At this moment I have no respect for the Australian Side. The history books will tell us Australia have won this match but for me (and I know in fact there are many who think) India have won this test match.

  • Slip51 on January 7, 2008, 9:23 GMT

    Peter, With regard to the Dravid dismissal is it not possible that Gilchrist was in fact appealing for LBW and not a catch at all. I know I would have been for, as you so correctly pointed out, he was hiding his bat and gloves behind his pad and therefore not playing a shot so does not have to be hit in line. In any case I believe that if India continue to concentrate on these issues and not on some of the other reasons they lost such as the countless times I recall aussie batsmen hitting the ball straight to fieldsmen and running 2 or the extraordinary sight of one of the best Batsmen in the world taking singles of the first ball of the over when batting with No 11 (one only has to cast their mind back to Hussey with Glen McGrath to wonder what the Indian lead might have been) or the lack of close catchers on day 4 when the aussie lead was still only just over 100 the no 17 will be a formality.

  • charlie_s123 on January 7, 2008, 9:04 GMT

    I understand that it was a controversial match and that there were a number of mistakes made by individuals. However I think some people are overreacting. To say that the match was decided entirely by the umpires is blatantly untrue. Bad decisions happen and they always will, do you really think India are the first team to suffer from poor umpiring? Also those who frown on Pontings response to a journalist who questioned his appeal for a supposedly grassed catch, imagine the response if an Australian journalist in India accused the Indian captain of cheating, I think you would find the resulting criticism would be directed toward the journalist rather than the captain defending his integrity. Australia won the test match and complaining is not going to change that, preparing for the next test should be both sides first priority.

  • Tshepo_M on January 7, 2008, 8:59 GMT

    The article underlines an important issue in my view. Important decisions must be made correctly by the umpires otherwise the momentum of the game shifts and a side can go from being in a position of great strength to having to score 500 runs just to stay in the game. To win a test match let alone a series in Australia is hard enough. Steve Bucknor made mistakes on crucial decision that cost India the momentum they needed to firstly win then finally save the test match. Furthermore, Symonds Pointing and Michael Clarke all played big parts in Australia clinching a record 16 straight test match win and all these gentleman were involved in controversies relating to the spirit of the game. The age of television has highlighted the small margin for error that exists between winning and losing a test math and being a cricket lover I hope that decisions can be made in the future to assure the playing fields are kept level for home and visiting teams(I'm probably a dreamer).

  • soho77 on January 7, 2008, 16:14 GMT

    Action should be taken against Ricky Pointing for claiming a catch even after the ball had touched the ground. Rashid Latif was suspended for 5 matches after wrongly claiming a catch against Bangladesh. I don't understand why Pointings case hasn't been brought up yet!!!

  • Phiona on January 7, 2008, 12:13 GMT

    I must admit, that I was incredibly amused to read every single comment that has already been posted on this particular article. The hostility towards the Australian camp by the majority was outstanding. On one hand, I do understand how everyone is appaled by some of the decisons made throughout the Sydney Test, but everyone seems to forget that not every decision was in favour of the Australians. As much as one can argue that the decisions like the Symonds decision, which resulted in a century, cost India the match they must also remember that the Little Master should have been out before making his ton. However, no one seems to be up in arms about these decisions! Whilst the poor Umpiring DID affect the match, no one could argue that it is the SOLE reason India lost. That is just stupid. Australia isn't #1 in the world for nothing. And might I also add that Australia does NOT escape poor umpiring decisions, just look at the decision at Edgebastion in 2005 that cost them the Ashes!

  • badam.mallik on January 7, 2008, 10:40 GMT

    In reply to MR ACJ100 You are just calculating the numbers , it is no just numbers, it is about momentum. If symonds was given out then australlia would have been shutout for less than 200 in comparison to 461 then India will have the confidance and they can bat freely, this would make a lot of difference. Fvouring india 3 decisons and favouting Australlia 6. There is alot of difference not just few runs and also when Dravid was looking good and australlia's cahnces were going down then dravid was given out.

  • gzeuskraiste on January 7, 2008, 10:08 GMT

    The umpiring was awful, but not biased. Australia got plenty of bad decisions, eg: Tendulkar on 30. The reason journalists like Peter tend not to mention them is that Australia consistently win despite umpiring mistakes. With the losing sides you can speculate about them maybe winning if the decisions were correct. But it's just speculation. Nobody knows that the Australian middle order wouldn't have focussed harder if Ponting was given out caught behind off Sharma. Nobody knows that Dravid wouldn't have been out next ball if he wasn't given caught behind (which if you know anything about cricket, you know would have looked out from behind), or that India wouldn't have been behind on the first innings if Tendulkar was out LBW when he should have been.

    As for appealing, you're perfectly entitled to appeal when you think it's out, and even the ones Australia went up for that weren't out were at least close. Kumble and Harbhajan went up for plenty that were nowhere near.

  • spruse10 on January 7, 2008, 9:45 GMT

    Umpires are human and they made mistakes and they will make more in the future. The ignorant comments that they cheat just projects the image that India and its supporters are very poor losers. This is a shame because before this test I had immense respect for the manner in which they carried themselves. What separates a good team and a great team is how they can recover from a bad decision and move on with the game. I think what people have forgotten in this saga is that one of the key elements in the spirit of cricket is respect for the umpire and their decision. The actions and words of the players, media and supporters has taken the spirit of the game to a new low. Australia may not have walked but India has done far more damage to the game by openly attacking the umpires like this. Not only do the men in black and white have a largely under-appreciated job, they now have to contend with public humiliation at the hands of misguided individuals every time they make a decisio

  • sadaussie on January 7, 2008, 9:34 GMT

    Forget the poor umpiring decisions. It was a disgraceful show of arrogance by the Australians that has embarrassed all of their die hard supporters. What has happened to professionalism and humbleness in the face of victory. We all sat there and waited for Ponting to leave the circle of jumping Aussies to go and shake Kumble's hand, congratulate him on a fine innings, and his team on a fantastic effort. Instead he chose to do interviews, sledge commentators and not concede any credit to the Indians for their efforts. With regard to Harbajan, I do not condone of racism but this could have been dealt with in other ways. Ricky, you are a great batsmen but you have allowed a culture of poor sportsmanship and arrogance to creep in to the team and this will reputation will haunt your legacy to the sport. Please apologise to Australian supporters and get on with playing cricket in the spirit of the game.

  • JatinKapadia on January 7, 2008, 9:27 GMT

    This test match clearly shows why Australia are winners but not popular. West Indies were a super power in cricket in 70's and 80's but they were popular because they played the game in right spirit. This game proves that Australia don't Practice what they preach. At this moment I have no respect for the Australian Side. The history books will tell us Australia have won this match but for me (and I know in fact there are many who think) India have won this test match.

  • Slip51 on January 7, 2008, 9:23 GMT

    Peter, With regard to the Dravid dismissal is it not possible that Gilchrist was in fact appealing for LBW and not a catch at all. I know I would have been for, as you so correctly pointed out, he was hiding his bat and gloves behind his pad and therefore not playing a shot so does not have to be hit in line. In any case I believe that if India continue to concentrate on these issues and not on some of the other reasons they lost such as the countless times I recall aussie batsmen hitting the ball straight to fieldsmen and running 2 or the extraordinary sight of one of the best Batsmen in the world taking singles of the first ball of the over when batting with No 11 (one only has to cast their mind back to Hussey with Glen McGrath to wonder what the Indian lead might have been) or the lack of close catchers on day 4 when the aussie lead was still only just over 100 the no 17 will be a formality.

  • charlie_s123 on January 7, 2008, 9:04 GMT

    I understand that it was a controversial match and that there were a number of mistakes made by individuals. However I think some people are overreacting. To say that the match was decided entirely by the umpires is blatantly untrue. Bad decisions happen and they always will, do you really think India are the first team to suffer from poor umpiring? Also those who frown on Pontings response to a journalist who questioned his appeal for a supposedly grassed catch, imagine the response if an Australian journalist in India accused the Indian captain of cheating, I think you would find the resulting criticism would be directed toward the journalist rather than the captain defending his integrity. Australia won the test match and complaining is not going to change that, preparing for the next test should be both sides first priority.

  • Tshepo_M on January 7, 2008, 8:59 GMT

    The article underlines an important issue in my view. Important decisions must be made correctly by the umpires otherwise the momentum of the game shifts and a side can go from being in a position of great strength to having to score 500 runs just to stay in the game. To win a test match let alone a series in Australia is hard enough. Steve Bucknor made mistakes on crucial decision that cost India the momentum they needed to firstly win then finally save the test match. Furthermore, Symonds Pointing and Michael Clarke all played big parts in Australia clinching a record 16 straight test match win and all these gentleman were involved in controversies relating to the spirit of the game. The age of television has highlighted the small margin for error that exists between winning and losing a test math and being a cricket lover I hope that decisions can be made in the future to assure the playing fields are kept level for home and visiting teams(I'm probably a dreamer).

  • hg3121973sl on January 7, 2008, 8:33 GMT

    Hi everyone this is my 1st post and i have been following all thats been unfolding on the idiot box, papers and of course cricinfo. Lets be honest ppl, India too has had the benefit of bad umpiring decisions in the past and every now and then. True its no longer a gentlemans game except for a few who would walk when they think its out, Like Lara and Gilchrist- thats class apart. For the others they should probably take a leaf out of that and earn respect of this mad cricket world. We are missing the whole point here, why call each other cheats when the ICC which in my opinion has been lumbering over the use of electronic assist for Umpire for such a long time, don't you think the time is right to implement the technology we have. this may even save a certain few from moments of embrassment.

  • anotherpete on January 7, 2008, 8:29 GMT

    This is no longer a gentleman's game. It is a professional sport. Players can be dismayed or shocked when a decision does not go their way, but then get on with the game. Regardless of whether Ponting grassed the catch or not, the umpire still gave it out. From what I have read (I didn't see it), the replays were inconclusive, and how many times have you seen a fieldsman think that he caught it but it being shown that he didn't. They still genuinely believe that they caught it, but they are diving on the ground and don't always know what's going on. Ponting indicated that he caught it and put his finger up. That is like any appeal.

    The Indians should feel hard done by with the standard of umpiring in this test, but they made their fair share of mistakes. Three wickets in an over to a part time bowler with 10 minutes to go! Maybe it shouldn't have got to that, but that's where it was. They had a couple of bad decisions in their innings, but they still lost the other 8 wickets.

  • etypemac on January 7, 2008, 8:21 GMT

    I, as an umpire,feel that some of the decisions on the last day were disturbing. I would firmly believe that Bucknor and Benson did not cheat, I don't believe that any umpire on the ICC panel would cheat. But they do get it wrong, like all of us they are not perfect. In every game, it is possible to get a bad umpiring decision, but the decision should be left to the umpire and not be made by anybody else. I always believed that the benefit of the doubt went to the batsman. The dispute over whether catches have carried or not should still be decided by the benefit of the doubt going to the batsman. If the TV replay is inconclusive, it's not out. It's a simple ruling. It is unfortunate that a good game of cricket and the achievment of the Aussie team will be remembered (except by Australians) for all the wrong reasons. And Australians are no different to anybody else in the world. When there is too much at stake, integrity is tested and found wanting.

  • Kaye on January 7, 2008, 8:04 GMT

    I have been reading negative comments about Australia for years, some justified and some unjustified. What I don't read is 'enough' negative comments about the conduct of players from other countries. These things are not brought to people's attention 'enough' if they are not Australia. It is easiest to attack Australian players, more newsworthy. Indian players in both Tests in this series have stood their ground when clearly out, shaken their heads to indicate no edge when caught, clearly wasting time towards the end of play day 5 of second test, diabolical over rates ... how do these measure up to the spirit of cricket. Excessive appealing was a skill gifted to the world by the sub-contintent and try getting an LBW in Pakistan or India prior to neutral umpires. Everyone needs to wake up to themselves, be locked away in a room and settle differences 'like men'. Kumble (and others) take the high ground when it suits even when their own backyard is very, very untidy. Stop whinging!

  • cricket_spirit on January 7, 2008, 8:02 GMT

    Most of the people commenting here and in the press have been too timid to call a spade a spade. The Aussies won by cheating, no doubt about that. The Aussies live in denial of their atrocious sporting spirit, and the local press encourages it by their partisan, childish reporting. I suggest that in the future tests with Australia the Indian supporters should set up regular chants of 'CHEATER, CHEATER' whenever Symonds, Ponting, or Clarke get the ball or bat. Its all very well for people to say just play on, but cricket is a game of chances, which do not necessarily repeat. Symonds double reprieve in the first innings completely changed the direction of the game. Imagine Tendulkar or Laxman being given 2 chances in the first innings, how much it would affect the Aussie fielders.

  • Allrounder89 on January 7, 2008, 7:20 GMT

    It's also easy to misinterpret player's reaction to a decision that hasn't gone their way. Mr English has assumed the worse reaction for each of the cases he's mentioned in this article - disgust at the umpire's decision. If such behaviour was to continue then why should umpires give decisions in favour of such behaviour? Their job is to make a decision based upon their judgement and of no others. In most cases I believe the decision was made by the umpire immediately as it's occurred and the subsequent delay is to cross check whether the decision warrants a change - hence a possible conference with the leg umpire. A hard-done-by reaction to a decision that's gone against your way does not necessary mean that you are disgusted in the umpire's decision, but it can also be the reaction that the opportunity was so near - an extra millimetre and the decision could've gone the other way. If the umpires felt the reaction was aginst them then why would they rule in favour of the Aussies.

  • ummagumma on January 6, 2008, 17:49 GMT

    Ref Aussie_ Assult01 To justify the behaviour of many in the Australian team during this test match, not least the captain, with some petty whinge about losing the Ashes due to bad umpiring is churlish. For sure you bounced back brilliantly and won 5-0,after throwing a test series away with 18 no balls before lunch on the first morning at Edgbaston. But as soon as people say Tait is a chucker, you cry foul, as soon as a decision goes against you, you throw your toys out of the pram, as soon as someone sledges back at you, you cry racist. As soon as the rest of the world throws its arms up in horror at a great test match ruined by woeful umpiring decisions, you suggest we all eat humble pie. England had a win at all costs during the Bodyline series, does that vindicate the attitude of Ponting and his band of merry men? No one doubts the brilliance of the Australian cricket team, just the integrity of their play and clearly a few of their followers.

  • matt17 on January 6, 2008, 17:41 GMT

    I am sick of everyone Australia bashing, I understand how Manchester United feel, everyone whines when they win and loves it when they lose. Show me where in the rules it says you have to walk even if you hit it to first slip? The umpires were awful in this game, not Australias fault. They are paid to make decisions. Ponting may or may not have taken the catch, I am sure he believes he did, when he looks at the replay will he feel the same...who knows. Harbajan is a disgrace, his antics remind me of Nel from Sth Africa, if he did as he was claimed and called Symonds a monkey he should be banned. If Hogg racially abused Indians as claimed then he should be banned too. However, if the Hogg claim is just retaliation against Australia for there claim, it would be very sad indeed. Of course Australia are not as good as they were, but when you carry on like you did winning 20/20 expect it back when we win. There is still bad feeling from India where Sreesanth also was a disgrace.

  • HarrisN on January 6, 2008, 17:34 GMT

    India should quit crying and play like sportsmen. They should raise the standard of their game rather than focussing on umpiring errors. One can see that without Dravid and Ganguly's dismissal they still lost eight wickets in 70 odd overs on the final day and the last three wickets in 5 balls when only one more over remained, so they should learn from this pathetic batting display and try to improve in Perth. If they continue to blame umpires for all their defeats then they are never going to get anywhere.

  • IGotTheSix on January 6, 2008, 16:48 GMT

    Ok for starters there was no doubt to anyone watching that the umpiring in this match was just pure incompetant. The kind of erros they made and the number of errors they made was just ridiculous. Now for the match analysis. There is a lot of talk about Australia lacking spirit in appeals and putting pressure on the umpires. There is a certain Peter E that writes about that and i think he may be a writer but obviously lacks clear vision of what Cricket is. Correct me if im wrong, but isn't it the Umpires job to withstand pressure out there and still make the right decisions? If umpiring was only about standing there and declaring a four or six, a kid could do it. As far as excessive appealing goes, players can be penalized after the match, so there are rules agains that. Get on with the reall issue guys, which is to get rid of incompetant umpires and not to blame a team for appealing. They may have appealed but the right to decide still rests with the umpires.

  • smartsquirrel1 on January 6, 2008, 15:58 GMT

    It is so typical that firstly umpires are blamed for such mistakes. look these things happen and no one is perfect. Gilchrist is known to be a walker and he appealed for dravids catch. if retards bothered looking through the umpires eyes they would realise that it looked like it brushed the glove.

    Whats all this about cheating and kumble claiming only one team played in the spirit of the game. utter nonsense what about his lame appeal of brad hogg. or against england when dhoni clearly missed the ball by a yard and still claimed the catch.

    This is sport and everyone wants to win (however note that i do not condone this behaviour). In 2005 ashes series so many decisins went against australia yet i didnt not read long paragraphs or see people complaining. umpires make mistakes - even the best of them if you dont believe me look at david shepherd for saqlain mushtaq v england.

    grow up you indian fans and learn that life is not fair. you should watch star news - bloody rot.

  • sandeepamin on January 6, 2008, 15:48 GMT

    I totally agree with Peter. There is no doubt that the aussies have played very good cricket for sometime. It is also very obvious they have always gained from some of the worst umpiring decisions. I am sure Steve Bucknor is going to migrate to Australia soon. He always had some problem with the Indian team especially when they are playing against Australia. I have always mentioned in all my blogs etc. that Australia played this series especially the 2nd Test with 11 players and 2 officials on field and 1 official in disguise of 3rd Umpire. How can the Indian team match such a formidable side. The best way aussies have got attention off this topic is with implicating Bhaji with racial remarks, what a load of rubbish, bhaji and racial remark just because he has troubled Ricky, Hayden, gilli etc. Wake up guys nothing will be done. The end result of this whole issue will be Indians losing the match and Bhaji being implicated of a racial case. I demand a interpol probe on this.

  • write2manish on January 6, 2008, 15:48 GMT

    Under Steve Waugh Australia won with pride and dignity and under Ponting esp. this game they won with skills attached with cheating and a lot of help from umpires. You might say that he did not claim a catch in the 1st innings but you can't be fair just one time.He claimed a catch which clearly hit the ground then how can you trust him. In my eyes watching this game was like watching 11 vs 14(incl. TV umpire). You can't expect so many decisions over the period of 5 days going wrong against one team by 8:1 ratio. Best teams set best examples. If Australia is a champion side then why they have just one person who is honest when they bat.I thought the champions side is champion because of its abilities, fair play and this australian side has abilities and skill but they need lot of help from umpires. I am sorry for the game of cricket in this match as it was not a fair game in my eyes. Both umpires should face penalty for such horrendous decisions.They did not do a fair job at all.

  • Mello on January 6, 2008, 15:48 GMT

    I am not a indian or aussie supporter, umpires were seriously cheating against india. Most people were talking about Bucknor, but, Mark Benson not that far away, forget first inning mistakes, how about Hussey's caught behind in the second inning when he was about 20, not only he turned down the appeal he started to laugh at indians when he knew that Huss was out caught. Why Aussies are always getting 80% decisions to go their way, why not other countries, why ICC not doing anything to get rid off these type of umpires...

    No wonder Aussies are having a good batting/bowling averages... who cannot top batting and bowling when you get decisions going your way. I feel for the Indians, this should have been their game to win. Ponting and the team can celebrate your 16 victories, in public eyes this game was setup for Aussies with great help from umpires.

  • ballferret on January 6, 2008, 15:46 GMT

    Once all the shouting about umpiring decisions, player ethics and accusations of racism is over one stark match statistic that will stick in the analysts mind will be the runs conceded in the last session of the first day - 162! Good or bad umpiring decisions had no bearing upon this leaking of runs - 60% above the match average. Symonds, Hogg and Lee should never have been given this gift regardless of legitimacy of their wickets. India lost their advantage during this session and the pendulum slowly, albeit haltingly, swung in the Australians favour. For many reasons cricket may be an imperfect game, but such an haemorrage is what really prevented Kumble's side winning of the game. The rest is sour grapes - which is not to say umpiring can't be improved.

  • montycricket on January 6, 2008, 15:41 GMT

    Ricky Ponting in the last 1 day match against India in the home series in India suggested to murali Karthik to walk when he had nicked it. But he didnt walk himself, in this test. Number of people who had nicked it and didnt walk. Ponting - 1st innings. Symonds - 1st innings. Clarke - 2nd innings. There should definately be an enquiry to see if all the umpiring mistakes in this match were genuine errors or not. You have to doubt that, after you see Symonds patting Steve Bucknor on the back after he gave Dravid out LBW in the 2nd innings !

  • onesmallvoice on January 6, 2008, 15:38 GMT

    Australians should not talk about fair play anymore. They seem to forget all ethics and the only spirit they recognize is the one they consume after the match. Saying that the umpiring was bad is a gross understatement. It is well known that Australians are bad losers and the Sydney test was a convincing statement to it. They want to win by hook or crook. There seems to be a general feeling that Steve Bucknor has a personal vendetta against team India. I cant comprehend the reason for it but its been a long time since he started messing with India's chances and in particular Sachin's fortunes. Aussies must be ashamed of this test and should not consider this as a Win, but a gift wrapped New Year present from the panel of ICC Umpires.

  • montycricket on January 6, 2008, 15:37 GMT

    goodman <- while it was patently hard to see Ganguly stand his ground, he was doing so in response to what had happened previously in the match. Symonds stood his ground when he was out. Did you see Michael Clark standing his ground when he was out in the 2nd innings ? That was worse than Ganguly ! There was not even a doubt about whether his edge had carried or not !! So why have double standards ? Ponting came to India advising Indian players to walk when they had nicked it. But he didnt do it himself in this test ! This is not a problem created by India, this was created by Australia !! By not playing in the spirit of the game. Kumble is absolutely right ! Some would say, they have never played in the spirit of the game.

  • roadkil on January 6, 2008, 15:36 GMT

    well the aussies dint play lyk champs 2day,playd lyk boyz on d streets cryn 4 a win,by hook or by crook.they made themselves look really small 2day,lost a lot of respect which obviously is of no concern2 em.good job m8s,ricky carry on wid ur thugs

  • Aussie_Assult01 on January 6, 2008, 15:34 GMT

    Humble pie perhaps ladies and gentlemen...lets all remember how Australia lost the ashes due to poor umpiring...(Kaspa caught off the glove when he wasn't touching the bat.)

    Perhaps cast your minds back to how Australia responded...5 - 0, i believe getting over it and playing 5 days of cricket and not 4 is the best method response....stop whinging.

    ohhh...and do i need to remind you all that the rules have in fact changed because a player from the sub-continent chucks the ball.??..

    fair go..the humble pie is on the bench people.

  • SaneVoice on January 6, 2008, 15:32 GMT

    Mr. 'slimbo3103' - You have compared Australian players' ifs and buts with the officials' ifs and buts and that goes to show that Australians think the officials are there for helping them.

    The Australians know very well that they are no longer the same force they used to be when McGrath and Warne were there in their team........so they have to find other ways to beat an in-form Indian team. Ponting is a real cheat claiming a grassed catch and also pretty shameless by telling the journalist that he couldn't have grassed it. Both Benson and Bucknor have lost it completely and must not be allowed to continue. Well played Anil & Co. There are such days when you are done in by the officials and it is pretty heartbreaking. All the best for Perth.

  • Ravi_M on January 6, 2008, 15:26 GMT

    First, in response to all who will claim that this is another whingeing post on umpiring, I want to say it is not. It is about momentum. On Day 1 against a clearly superior team India held the cosh and they had delivered the blow i.e. Symonds was out. Just as Ganguly stood his ground later, Symonds may have been justified in standing his. But Bucknor made a mistake that cost India the match. There can be no doubt about this. India had the Aussies on the mat and that wicket did swing the momentum away. Again on Day 5 the decision against Dravid swung the momentum away. That is where the problem lies. Unpiring decisions took away the wind from the Indian sails. I am hard pressed to find a similar example in the Aus inninigs.

  • cricmania on January 6, 2008, 15:24 GMT

    Well compiled article. Beats me sometimes to think that some people never seem to come under the glare for excessive appealing. And on the other hand, there were times when people like sehwag gets noticed instantly for one vocieferous appealing. How else would you explain the behaviour of these aussies? Agreed that India had been outplayed by Australia in Melbourne but in Sydney there were far more reasons outside cricket that decided the outcome. And come to think of it, this test is not Bucknor's first time. Tendulkar and couple of others were at the receiving end in India's previous tours which hugely affected the outcome. Aussies are no doubt excellent, talented , professional bunch of players and in addition under pressure can sledge their way back into the game and are shameless about it complaining when they are at the receiving end.

  • avi_kumar08 on January 6, 2008, 15:23 GMT

    I agree with Peter.I think sub standard is a small word to express the kind of umpiring we have seen in this Sydney Test match. One can understand that Umpires had a bad day and gave few bad decisions in a day but it is completely unacceptable at this level of cricket to say that umpires had a bad match in which they gave 14 wrong decisions against the Indian team. Decisions given has really spoiled this test match which could have been a great, fighting and historical test match. If umpire Steve Bucknor cant hear the loud edges as that of Andrew Symonds in the first innings then it is better for Bucknor to take the Voluntary Retirement. And as the first comment to this article by slimbo3103 talking about all the "if's" and "but's" in the match i wud like to say one thing to u my friend we all know this thing had the decisions been right n went in the favour of deserving team the result wud have been different. To cut short this test match has been a complete disappointment.

  • vaguefunda on January 6, 2008, 15:19 GMT

    Just to make a quick observation on slimbo's comment on "ifs" and "buts". What if Symonds had caught a sitter in the slips off Dravid? eh? That would again have been a grossly unfair decision because it was a no-ball and in all the ifs and buts that were cited, there was only one bad decision Australia were at the receiving end of - Ponting's AFTER he had gotten a reprieve. Its very easy to be philosophical for you when one has won, but I think its time that ICC looks at how the game is run

  • sanketh84 on January 6, 2008, 14:52 GMT

    I dont quite agree with the author at times. Anyone who played even school cricket knows that you appeal for everything when you're in a situation where things can go either way, as an Indian I wouldn't find fault if it was India appealing for catches like Ricky Ponting off Dhoni, I dont know much about the pre-series agreement for catches between the two captains which is quite foolish in my view. I personally find it foolish walking off if the umpires dont give u out. I dont find any fault in the Australian attitude, its good to have competetive spirit and its the reason have been undisputable champs for over a decade. I think the umpires are the sole authority, to decide based on one captain's words is incorrect. They are responsible for turning a great match into a farcical one, I'm not talking of 'what if' scenarios, but a game should be played fair and square. If I was an Australian, I would say that the umpires left a scar on what should've been a great game and a great victory.

  • CricketGal on January 6, 2008, 14:50 GMT

    Its such a shame that a fantastic match was smeared by poor umpiring . It is unquestionable that both India and Australia suffered poor decisions, particularly India, and even more unfortunate that the decisions (especially on the final day) came at crucial turning points of the game. However, good cricket is now being overshadowed by the media and fans who are making this into an us v them argument.

    Yes, Australia made strong appeals and looked for decisions which may have not been there, but lets not forgot that India did the same thing, just not at such a crucial time of the game. Teams will always make appeals for wickets and stand their ground at the crease in dubious circumstances - they are professional athletes, and both teams today were guilty of wanting to win and doing exactly this. The teams or players aren't to blame - it is the umpires who are paid to ensure the correct decision is reached. Let's not blame the teams or players for where the ICC should be acting.

  • greg1 on January 6, 2008, 14:48 GMT

    I could not agree more with Peter English. The umpiring decisions during the test match not only cost india any chance of competing in the game, but they almost put me off watching Australian cricket in the future. Some of the decisions made, particularly the Rahul Dravid and Andrew Symond dismissals threw common sense and logic out the window. Both these disgraceful calls potentially cost india the game, as Symonds went on to score 162 not out and lead australia to 400 odd, while Dravids dismissal sparked an indian collapse. Why is steve bucknor still in the game? He should have retired after the world cup was over, he has complelty lost it in terms of umpiring. Im also incredibly dissapointed in how Australia went on about winnning the game.They showed no spirit whatsoever and seemed like they would do anything to win the game. Constant appealing when you could clearly see it was not out soured the game completly for me. Cricket is at a loss today, Australia did not deserve to win.

  • appalled on January 6, 2008, 14:34 GMT

    I have just been reading these comments and I am astounded by sheer nastiness relayed to the Australian team. Integrity is an easy word to parry around but if you are absolutely perfect in your life then give it a rest. I dont support any particular team, and I would like to pose this question Since the Indian are claiming to be hard done by and the media is sensationalising it even more, what will be said when due to all this whinning the Australian start getting absolute shockers from the umps only because they are scared of what the mighty BCCI and the media have to say regardless if the decision was even a close one? The BCCI has again proved that they control cricket when the make statements like they did about Steve Bucknor, again the Indians arent pure as white snow here as we have seen several decision that they could changed but didnt.It i8s not the Aussies fault the umpiring was so bad so why blame them? could it be jealousy or the tall poppy syndrome. IT IS A GAME GET REAL!!

  • PawanKhatri on January 6, 2008, 14:29 GMT

    What do you do as an Indian fan now? This test will go on record as another Aussie victory. The clamour will die down with no action against anyone but may be Bhajji happening. BCCI will not do anything because the people holding office there are politicians who don't care about cricket. Their only worry is that some XYZ player does not sign for the rival ICL league or anyone who already played there is shut out from playing for any country or state side anywhere in the world.

  • jibjab04 on January 6, 2008, 14:28 GMT

    Excellent article, it's very refreshing to see a reporter coming down off the fence and actually having an opinion and writing about how he saw events. The umpires have had an absolute nightmire of a match and their mistakes are simply not good enough. Of course they are only human and make errors in the same way as players do, but surely now is the time to introduce a system by which each side may appeal for a decision to be reconsidered with the 3rd umpire having television replays and other technology to come to a decision. We have seen this work effectively in tennis and a side's number of appeals should be limited. I don't believe that this would undermine the authority of the umpires; it is only making sure the correct decision is come to in the end.

  • ausstu on January 6, 2008, 14:00 GMT

    Obviusly the umpiring wasn't up to the required standard. But people always seem to remember when luck goes in favour of Australia... maybe it's just that other teams don't make use of their luck as effectively. Dravid in particular has had ample opportunities to cash in this series. According to the Cricinfo commentary Tendulkar should have been out LBW when on about 30 in the first innings. He made use of his luck, just as Symonds did. If India had taken a more positive attitude they might have made their own luck - Australia chased 290 in 60 overs on the final afternoon in Sydney two years ago. Australia haven't won 16 in a row purely because of favourable umpiring decisions and the sooner other countries stop looking for excuses, the sooner they might win. And as for excessive appealing and spirit of cricket, people who live in glasshouses shouldn't play cricket. Anyone remember Sreesanth trying to run out Symonds about, oh, a month ago?

  • rajkrishnan on January 6, 2008, 14:00 GMT

    It is such a shame that the Aussies needed generous help from the umpires to acheive their victory. All talk by the Aussies about cricketing ethics and principles are a load of rubbish.If there is technology available then it should be used. It is certainly going to be better than Bucknor and Co. Is there no yearly recertification/revalidation of umpires. All professions seem to have it except them. They need MOT and license every year if not even the fans will lose interest.

  • zofa on January 6, 2008, 13:58 GMT

    I have been watching cricket for 35 years and feel that this was one of the unusual test matches which turned on bad decisions. Usually these things even out in the end but not in this case. Symonds being given not out in the first innings was momentum changing and brought the Aussies back in to the game. The players from the subcontinent have a reputation for unfair appealing but for some reason a lot of bad decisions go against the visiting teams in Australia and i remember this happening often enough even when the Chappell brothers were at the top of their game. I think it is time to have each side get at least 3 challenges of umpiring decisions per innings and set up a penalty system to ensure judicious and fair use. Mr. Bucknor needs to get started on his retirement and his prejudice against India is well documented.

  • Fredfillis on January 6, 2008, 13:58 GMT

    Geeze, I've seen some rubbish but this has to be at the top of the list!

    Let's remember these umpires are NEUTRAL, they are NOT Aussies. I think to suggest that somehow they deliberately made bad calls to favor Australia is a load of BS. I'm not going to make excuses for these blokes specifically, but fair go, there are two other tests being played right now. Which one deserves the best umpires? These blokes need to be judged on their performances and sssigned accordingly. Based on their performances in this test, their next game should be in the Dubbo Sunday League. But, lets also remember these blokes have 10's of millions of critics looking over their shoulders with super-slo mo replays etc which they don't have out in the center.

    And for those that think the fielders behind the wicket know everything about every ball, well, apparently you've never fielded there. A lot of times, you can't be sure whether a nick came off the edge or something else. There is a a batsman in the way.

  • pp2910 on January 6, 2008, 13:54 GMT

    excellent article. my question is why are umpires not penalised for wrong decisions. ultimately, it is their wrong decisions which compel the unwanted behaviour from players and for which they end up facing match refree. if there is similar system for umpires as well, i think it will help control lot of unwanted scenes on the ground.

  • eddiesays on January 6, 2008, 13:46 GMT

    Isn't this supposed to be a game? It isn't life and death. Surely, it doesn't keep you up nights. It is a game that we love, with two teams held in such huge esteem in their respective countries and around the world for their skill. Yes, there were umpiring decisions that were not correct. It's happened in the past. It will happen again. Why do we have to pick such a great game apart. Leave the boring, tedious and insulting over-analysis to the commentators on TV and radio. When accusations of racial abuse, poor umpiring decisions and virtually labelling some players as being poor sports overshadows the wonderful skill of players, in both teams, who are the best in the world at it, is sad. May the judgements made by officials and 'so-called' experts towards those who play the game be free from their own lives. Get off the players' backs. Let's cheer all who play the game. Support the game in good spirit. Praise in public. Criticise in private.

  • Neo.S on January 6, 2008, 13:45 GMT

    This is an excellent article. It articulates that which, for all (bar the one-eyed Oz supporter), has, in recent times, become palpably obvious: though this Australian team comprises 11 cricketers, there's (paradoxically) not a single sportsman amongst them.

  • alexb on January 6, 2008, 13:42 GMT

    I will be the first one to admit that bad umpiring decisions can ruin any sporting match, but not when a team has won 16 in a row and wins almost every match it plays. It doesn't matter what Peter English, Roebuck or others say, in the end over a 5 day Test match, the best team won the game. The Australian cricket team has a belief that no other has, a belief in its ability to win every game they play no matter what the situation is. Luck and umpiring decisions cannot be a factor when it happens so often. Apart from the dominant West Indies side of the 80s, what other team wins with such consistency - none. For those who feel umpires always favour the home team - well perhaps you should cast your minds back to the Ashes in England in 2005 and the number of bat-pad and lbw decisions given to the sub continent spinners. And finally and perhaps it's only me, sportsmanship plays a huge part in sport and I would have given Harbhajan a yellow card for overdoing it after he dismissed Ponting.

  • hobes on January 6, 2008, 13:38 GMT

    Best test match ive seen probably. So many issues its unbelievable. So many double standards and possibly the most biased piece of journalism i have ever read. Incorrect descions both ways, part of the game. The whole 'it cost us whatever runs blah blah is dumb, u are not god and the players are not robots you do not know what will happen. Australia have always played mean and played like jerks and they win more than anyone else ever has. Pertaining to be honest is good in theroy but almost impossible to implement so everyone should drop that pretense and leave it to the umps. Kumble showing his double standards accusing oz of bad spirit when a member of his team is to face a hearing for racism. Pot and kettle. So all in all double standards from every section of this match, bad blood,people not walking, accusations everywhere. I loved it. All you people whining about how its bad for cricket or the classic 'against the spirit of the game' should get a life. It was awesome.

  • parabasis on January 6, 2008, 13:37 GMT

    It is unsurprising, but disappointing, to see the number of commentators lining up to support the Cricifo(India) position that bad umpiring and alleged poor sportsmanship are the determining factors of the Test - as 'goodgame' suggests above. So, if India lose the logical outcome is that the umpires are biased, the opposition are cheats, and the moral victory goes to the stalwart Indians. India folded at the end. The batsmen gave edges, or missed in front of wicket, or played on, and/or lost their nerve. In 72 overs. No amount of complaining about the umpiring can disguise this. I saw the Ponting catch, it looked good to anyone in front of a tv. It was given not out, the team moved on. Dravid missed it, Bucknor made a mistake. Bad decision, move on. The Clark catch looked good too. Sorry India, Ganguly snicked it and was caught. No amount of sheepish bleating can change this. Cricinfo is mostly interested in its major revenue stream, the Indian public, so lets not call this journalism.

  • billy76 on January 6, 2008, 13:35 GMT

    Just a quick note about Michael Clarke. He first came to my attention at the World Cup in the West Indies. More recently he claimed a dubious catch in the recent ODI vs New Zealand when it was shown on replay to have not been clean. This Ganguly Catch was also very dubious - we can't trust the Captains Nod nor the future captain of Australia.

  • PoorJournalism on January 6, 2008, 13:33 GMT

    This article instantly lost all credibility here: "Two days later Anil Kumble missed a hat-trick when Bucknor judged a wrong'un to be going over the stumps when Symonds pushed forward. He went on to score another 61." The technology (that everyone seems to be calling for) showed that this was the correct decision, i.e. that the ball (comfortably) going over the top, and yet the author uses it as proof of India's misfortune - sadly it worked and this falsehood was repeated by one of the posters below ... There is also an astonishing lack of balance in this article in terms of the decisions that (Indian supporters ?) have clearly forgotten: the LBW in India's first innings which cost Australia effectively 200+ runs as Tendulkar was able to bring nurse partnerships throughout the tail. No Australian has complained about it (either in the press, by the players etc. etc.) - we can leave that instead to an obviously bitter Kumble, sensationalist journalists and misinformed Indian fans.

  • whits106 on January 6, 2008, 13:31 GMT

    The umpiring was woeful in this game. Before anyone attempts to call me an "armchair expert" as I have read. I umpire cricket. I referee rugby league, touch, oztag, and indoor cricket. I have officiated in grand finals with 20,000+ people watching me. Why is everyone talking about things evening themselves out in the "long run". NO ONE CARES ABOUT THE LONG RUN. People care about the here and now, and the fact is, the umpiring cost India the game. They outplayed Australia except for third session day one, first session day 5 and 5 overs at the end of day 5.I'm not saying they would have won, but they wouldn't have lost. Australia use this "long run" excuse because they won. Had they been on the other end of the spectrum, I doubt we'd hear that from them. They can't hack losing or someone being better than them or not getting their way. To be honest i've always thought Australia must "donate" more money to the ICC than other countries with the amount of "good luck"they always seemto get

  • pneogy on January 6, 2008, 13:30 GMT

    It's more than just poor umpiring. It's a lot about poor attitudes as well. When a batsman who is clearly caught in the slips defiantly, mockingly stands his ground, something more than a match is won or lost. The entire game of cricket is the loser.

  • malibu77 on January 6, 2008, 13:29 GMT

    The umpiring in the Sydney test was an absolute disgrace. David Shepherd went on too long - the same can be said for Steve Bucknor who needs to be pensioned off. The ICC must revert to only one international umpire per test so that local umpires can umpire in their own country. That way some of the best umpires going around (Simon Taufel, Darryl Harper, Darryl Hair and Steve Davis) can umpire in Australia and situations like we have just seen can be averted or at least minimised.

  • sarangsrk on January 6, 2008, 13:23 GMT

    Mr.English, I couldn't have agreed more with your views.I would be the first one to criticise the Indian team but today, the only fair result was a draw.Yes,agreed the result of a match doesn't depend on 1-2 decisions but its the moment/timing of that decision which makes that difference.All readers who are talking about Indian team whinging after losing don't need to go back too far,just remember what happened after the MCG test.Did you hear any Indian complaining about umpiring or any other reasons for the heavy loss? I am sure no. This hasn't happened for the first time with Bucknor's umpiring.India was deprived a potential chance of winning a series against Australia at the same venue 4 years back and today, history just repeated itself. Onto the Australian team, like most of the cricket fans in this world, I am a big fan of the talented Australian cricketing team but in the same vein, they will not be regarded as the most respected team.They don't set an example of true champions

  • chimpion on January 6, 2008, 13:22 GMT

    The umpiring standards were poor but its easy for us to sit here and criticise them. Yes it is their job but they are only human and overall they are some of the best umpires in the game. When you're only 22 ft from the action and you have to have to watch delivery after delivery for days on end on real time you must say that they do a good job. Watching it and most sports on the matter on tv is vastly different to watching in person as its happening and even more different when you're an actual participant - whether it be fielder, batsman, bowler or umpire.

    Yes it was a huge nick and we could clearly hear it on tv when it actually occured but the microphone was at the stumps while the umpire is 22 feet away where he has to deal with also the huge noise generated by the crowd. In the long run it all evens out and more often than not the Australian's do play by the spirit of the game. Bad calls happen and at least the indians can see it for what it is - a good game of cricket.

  • rubble11 on January 6, 2008, 13:20 GMT

    Here's an idea. While we are all up for criticising the umpires, let's have no TV replays and see how many of us would pick the right decision. I guarantee the umpires would get a lot more right than any of the hack commentators or media commentators would. It's easy for ex-players in the commentary box to pass judgement having seen a replay from every angle at slowed down speeds. Come on Mssrs Greig, Nicholas, Chappell et al, let's see how good you are having seen it only once. The umpires of today are no worse than days gone by. Anybody believing Ian Chappell and Co. that things were better in their days is not being realistic. And, as for the newpaper journalists, well, they are not worth commenting on as they are happy to jump on the bandwagon and write whatever will sell newspapers regardless of fact.

  • russy13 on January 6, 2008, 12:52 GMT

    It is pretty easy to sit back after watching 10 replays, looking at hawkeye, snicko, hotspot etc and pass judgements on the on field umpires. But how many of you have done any umpiring? Or it would seem based on some of these utterly ridiculous comments, even played cricket at all? Things happen in an instant, and the on field umpires must make a decision on what has already happened by their eyes alone. It is absolutely impossible to be correct 100% of the time. If you can't accept that, then you shouldn't play or watch cricket.

    All of this talk about walking is missing the point. Walking is disrespectful to the umpire. Do we accept that a player is allowed to stay at the wicket after being given out? No, so why should we accept a player leaving when the umpire has said not out? Either one is saying the umpire made the wrong decision. If we go down that road, why bother having umpires at all? Let's just all do whatever we feel like.

  • rbharol on January 6, 2008, 12:44 GMT

    To Leggyspaghetti8:

    It is not a matter of sour grapes. Anybody would agree that Australia is a strong team. Even if a couple of decisions at critical junctures go against opposition, they could be deciding factors.

    Would you explain the following: 1. Why did Symonds not walk when it was a clear nick? Where is the spirit of the game? 2. Why did Clark did not say that ball hit the ground when he took Ganguly's catch. Dont tell me that he did not know it. 3. Why did Clark stood when he was clearly out first ball in second innings and Bucknor did not give him out until Kumble and team fell to ground begging for the decision. 4. Why did Bucknor not call for third umpire for a stump appeal when as per replays Symonds was out! 5. Why was Dravid given out on the last day? 6. MOST INTERESTING. Compare the two replays. One Kumble appealing for HatTrick wicket against Symonds and Clark appealing for LBW against RPSingh in the last innings?

  • TheezUmpirzRdillz on January 6, 2008, 12:39 GMT

    I'm an Australian but I agree it's a real shame when a match -a and a series! - is decided by poor umpiring rather than by the efforts of the players. I don't think the umpires were favouring the Australians, it's just that their poor decisions really benefited Australia far more than India and thus determined the result. Greater use of technology must be part of the solution to avoid this happening again in the future. In addition I think the ICC should revisit the value of so called neutral umpires. I used to be a big fan of this as a means of eliminating home town favouritism, but it has meant we have to put up with a lot of frankly second-rate umpires. The more experienced of the Sydney pair and the fellow from South Africa are the most notorious. I'd like to see the best umpires adjudicating no matter what the nationality and those who, like this pair, have a poor track record, not invited back next summer.

  • amortiser on January 6, 2008, 12:38 GMT

    There is no doubt that the umpires had a bad game. Maybe a way of reducing the number of bad decisions is to give each side 3 opportunities to challenge an umpires decision each game. If a challenge is successful they retain it. After 3 unsuccessful challenges they have no more opportunities.

    There would probably have to be some restrictions eg LBW decisions where the technology is not sufficient to be conclusive. Decisions involving edges can be safely referred and, I feel that contentious low catches should be left to the integrity of the fieldsman if the review is inconclusive.

    Such a change in the rules would lead to a lot more "walkers" appearing in the game and thereby reduce the pressure on umpires. Frivilous appealing would also be reduced which would benefit everybody and there would be record kept to review the performance of the umpires in each game.

  • rupydhillon on January 6, 2008, 12:36 GMT

    People say its not about "What if" or May be", i say it is. Australia were 6 down to 131 on first day, then symonds nicked one,umpire denied it. There was stumping chance, all of the channel 9 commentary team gave that out, third umpire did not, then there was another stumping chance, which wasn`t even reffered to third umpire, 3 chances in 162* innings to symonds, what have you got to say about that,You cry about ponting being given lbw when he had edged that onto his pads, mate he was at 11 when he was given not for caught behind. He went on to make a fifty.Hussey was given not out when he nicked one behind in his low 20's. Now that all of those big scores out, Australia is left with nothing, India made that much in first innings only, Australia were having a hard time on 4th day of test when they were offered light by umpires when it was still bright outside, they walked off happily.Then desicions against Dravid and Ganguly and denying kumble his hatrick on the final day, Justified?

  • Lion-King on January 6, 2008, 12:36 GMT

    What a load of sour grapes. Sachin Tendulkar should have been given out LBW for 38 in the first innings to the bowling of Michael Clarke. A few of the Indians today stood their ground after edging to the slips and even the last wicket had to confirmed to the batsman that he was out. India need to accept the fact that they came to Australia talking up a tough game and after folding like a deck of cards today in only 2 sessions they are looking for scapegoats. Every team gets bad decisions and the tourists need to have a good look at themselves.

  • Rik_W on January 6, 2008, 12:35 GMT

    Great article. I was very disappointed watching this test. I just hope that Roy gave Steve Bucknor that man of the match award... maybe even a case of beer.

  • Matth on January 6, 2008, 12:32 GMT

    Careful everyone. Are we accusing these umpires of bias toward australia? Or all umpires? I know this is hard to believe but Australia is part of the MINORITY bloc in the ICC. They would not get any favours from the Asian bloc. People should remember on which continent local umpires were so biased that neutral umpiring was introduced in the first place.

    Therefore, we are obviously saying they are not competent. Well, maybe so, there some shockers. Dravid's was the worst, but I agree with comments above that show there were crook decisions on both sides.

    And to those that believe the Australian's should not have appealed: 1. That's why it is APPEALING. They don't have to be right. that's the umpire's job. 2. In that famous 2001 series in India, I seem to remember the Indians appealing virtually every time a ball hit pads or a fielder took a ball on the full. Let's not have double standards.

    Some perspective here is required.

  • princeofkolkata on January 6, 2008, 12:27 GMT

    Ponting : "There's no way I grounded that ball. If you're actually questioning my integrity in the game, then you shouldn't be standing there," Ponting told an Indian journalist. "What I did in the first innings, doesn't that explain the way I play the game?" Ponting told the umpires he had not accepted an edge cleanly despite the appeals from the players around him.

    "I'm saying I'm 100% sure I would have caught that catch off Dhoni," Ponting said. "As it turned out it was given not out anyway, am I right or wrong?"

    Maye Punter should watch the telivision replays with a glasses on rather than celebrating.

  • joshreid on January 6, 2008, 12:26 GMT

    As an Australian, cricket has all, but been a lifestyle as much as a sport for me. Through this I have learned many lessons about truth, honesty and a myriad of other important lessons often neglected or even unheard of in other sports.

    Having said this, I loathe my own team because they could not be further removed from the spirit of the game I was taught to play and love. They sledge, which they believe is acceptable and has "always been a part of the game", though I've had the privelage of the company of several Australian test players from the 1940's who deny this. Technology is not the answer, I believe the spirit of the game should be enforcable. Walk or be fined 50% of your match fee. I've seen Clarke claim three catches that look suspect, two I saw hit the ground (not todays). Ponting's constant volume in whinging and reminding us of his integrity screams guilt and denial for a man captaining a team that lacks exactly that.

    Justice was certainly not done at the SCG.

  • blackmagic9970 on January 6, 2008, 12:23 GMT

    There is no doubt that the umpiring adversely influenced the result of the game and led to a lot of tension between the two sides and needs to be addressed by the ICC immediately.

    But as much as India suffered from all the questionable decisions/catches/etc, has everyone just conveniently forgotten about Laxman and Tendulkar both being plumb LBW to Lee and CLarke respectively before reaching 50, then going on to make big hundreds?

    As for appeals, anyone who has played cricket at a serious level knows that you don't always definitively know if a bat pad catch actually hit the bat, or if a noise was an actual edge or just the pad or the bat hitting ground or bat hitting pad - you appeal and leave the rest to the umpire.

    As for catches, again, a player just does his best and leaves it to the umpires to determine legitimacy, within the laws of the game.

    I wonder how much mileage will be made to deflect consequences of the Harbhajan charges (if he actually did say "monkey")!!

  • ACJ100 on January 6, 2008, 12:22 GMT

    While the umpiring throughout was poor, it is inaccurate, in my view, to suggest that Australia benefitted disproportionately. Here were the key wrong decisions as I saw them, having attended all 5 days of the Test: 1. Symonds' nick behind and stumping (cost = roughly 130 runs) 2. Ponting's nick behind and then LBW (cost = roughly 30) 3. Laxman's LBW to Lee on 17 - looked plumb at ground and on replay (cost = 90 runs) 4. Tendulkar's LBW to M Clarke on about 40 (cost = 100 runs) 5. Hussey's nick down legside and LBW to Kumble (cost = maybe 90 runs) 6. Dravid's non-nick on Day 5 (cost hard to estimate but he has not been in great form, as evidenced by the earlier edge to Symonds) 7. Dhoni's bat-pad caught by Ponting (cost roughly 2 hours) So all centurions bar Hayden benefitted; decisions were 50:50 on the final day. The catches (to M Clarke and Ponting) looked fine to me. All results (win, lose, draw) would have been fair. The fact is India failed to bowl out Australia or save the game!

  • kartp on January 6, 2008, 12:21 GMT

    The match seemed like it was between India and umpires.It was only because of umpires that India lost the match.Also the spirit of Australia was pathetic.They should not have appealed for Sourav's wicket.The Indian management should make a strong protest regarding this matter.

  • hytherre on January 6, 2008, 12:21 GMT

    People seem only to focus on the negatives that have come out of the game. Yes, there have been poor decisions, and we could spend a life time talking about ifs and buts but what about the cricket that has been played from both sides! Fantastic, down the wire, hard at it cricket.

    The only reason that india lost is because of india. No team should make over 400 when they were 6 for 135, no matter the decisions made. No team should deserve to win when they get bowled out in two sessions no matter what day it is. Finally people talk about the 'spirit' of the game, last time i looked racism was not part of that.

  • SirFredSmith on January 6, 2008, 12:17 GMT

    And if India had won because of poor decisions going "Their Way" would they be crowing so viciously against their win, I think not. This journalist's forum, like the BCCI and its players is filled with poor losers. And will you - the noble - not also mount a campaign to review the footage of all games available to correct all the other poor decisions and anomalies in the record books so they can be perfect - but what about the game before video ?. Can you even conceptualize the notion that the umpire's decision is final; else all the charm of this game is lost. Peter English, your dislike of Australian cricket and its successes is well published. Why is it that this, the primary cricket forum grants you such largesse; in a word bias. All this aside, the rules of the game involve penalties for players showing dissent; how many Indians should be on the short list to enjoy a break - more than four I would surmise just from the final days play. Anything else would be a travesty.

  • billblake on January 6, 2008, 12:17 GMT

    The reaction to the umpiring in this test has bordered on the hysterical. You would think this was first time in history that a bad decision has influenced the direction of a match. Yes the Symonds decision was a shocker. But the turned down LBW against Laxman in India's 1st wasn't too far behind. To go on and on and claim these decide the outcome of the game is just unoriginal media slop. Maybe a one-dayer but a test match over five days! Look at this stuff objectivity and it's part of the game's unique culture; The worm turns for all teams. The players treat it the same way they do a dropped catch or missed stumping and get on with it. As to the use of technology I loved the irony of the NINE TV team when Symonds was given not out 2nd inn. on Kumble hat-trick ball - "Hawkeye" showed the ball bouncing well over the stumps - response was Nicholas and Co. considered it out (that devil Symonds) and proceeded to prattle on about how unreliable their toys were!

  • simmos1 on January 6, 2008, 12:09 GMT

    It seems fair to point the fingure at australia for not being in the spirit of the game, so there were a couple hairy decisions, but do you remember the last ashes tour to england, the same could be said there about the decisions against australia, sure it may not cost us the series but i can asure you that it did not help. the problem these days is that there is now thirty odd camera's at the game , we have super slow mo stump mic's and varios other forms of help, the umpire has his poor old ageing ears 20 000 odd thousand screaming fans to hear edges and the like, ganguly's dismissal was a faint clip of the pad could you tell with out the aid of the replay that he did not hit it. now peter english would you go out to the next test match and umpire it no i don't think so. yes they made errors but they are human not machines

  • parramatters on January 6, 2008, 12:08 GMT

    Sour grapes anyone? I mean you take the good with the bad, what goes around comes around. To say this will turn the fans off cricket is garbage. The final 20 overs of this test match were more interesting and exciting than any T20 match I've seen lately. Test Cricket is the bomb.

  • aadil12 on January 6, 2008, 12:07 GMT

    India had to get 28 wickets to win the game. Australia won it by only achieving 18. Call it whinging if you will aussie fans but its facts. What would you be saying if it went the other way? If a player keeps making big mistakes in big games their career is over. It should apply to the umpires adjudicating this test.

  • AnSVad on January 6, 2008, 12:05 GMT

    Brilliant article by Peter English. The quality of umpiring in this test match has been apalling to say the least. India definitely has come off worse as the wrong decisions hit them at very crucial times. It is time for Bucknor to go. He is way past his prime.

    About the comment by leggyspaghetti, it is one of the most one sided closed minded nonsense that I've heard. Australia never whine about the umpiring; true. But they also never turn a hair about playing against the spirit of the game. Playing the game "hard" DOES NOT mean bending the rules. It isn't called a gentleman's game for no reason!

  • samwatto on January 6, 2008, 12:05 GMT

    I find it hard to believe that after five days of absolutely fantastic cricket you, Mr. English, have summised the game by highlighting poor umpiring and a poor Australian attitude on the field. Objectivity is obviously not something you care to abide by in your coverage. Poor decisions from umpires are an unfortunate but unavoidable feature of cricket, if you have not realised this by now then perhaps cricket coverage is not for you Mr English. Both Australia and India were on the end of poor and lets not forget some lucky decisions, thats cricket. I'm sure the umpires' performance will be reviewed by those responsible (ie. the ICC), lets leave that to those individuals. At this time lets appreciate the fact that we have just witnessed a very memorable contest in which we saw centuries from 5 great batsmen and some of the best bowlers in world cricket at their best. What Australia achieved today is nothing short of remarkable and I consider myself privilaged to have been a witness.

  • littlecricket07 on January 6, 2008, 12:04 GMT

    A very good article. This article clearly shows in what spirit aus take the game. Look like they only want to win, doesn't matter fair or unfair. And as for umpiring standards, they are deteriorating day be day. When technology has advanced so much, why can't it be used for a good cause? Atleast we get to watch and play fair cricket. All decisions won't be perfect, granted, but with technology coming into use, atleast the very obvious decisions will be correct. What is the use of claiming we are in the 21st century and technology is very advanced if we dont even want to use it? Regarding Sourav's wicket, why did Benson have to ask Ponting? He could have referred it to the 3rd umpire if he had a doubt. His salary wont be cut if he does that, does it? For the next match, Wasim Jaffer should be dropped as he is not suitabe to play on bouncy wickets and Sehwag should be given a chance. Pathan should be playing instead of Ishant as he is more experienced and can bat as well.

  • DrJem on January 6, 2008, 12:01 GMT

    It's interesting that evereyone seems to be blaming ponting and Clarke for the Ganguly dismissal. Up front, I will say that at the very least the replays I saw of the catch were inconclusive. People here and elsewhere don't seem to be able to come to terms with the idea that a batsman who stands his ground when he knows he is out can be an honest fieldsman. But the comparison is spurious: A batsman can ONLY give himself out, he can't complain (or complain successfully) when he is given out inappropriately. Hence, it is fair that batsman stand their ground as those decisions will likely even themselves out over time (you only need look at Ponting's eventual dismissal in the first innings when he was clearly not out to see that this is so). A fielder on the other hand can give the decision both ways - he can give out and not out - so their is no 'balance', the correct, honest decision can be made each time. And besides - it was Benson who gave Ganguly out, not Ponting.

  • jcau on January 6, 2008, 11:58 GMT

    Sure, Symonds should have walked and Ponting is a cry-baby, but these are individuals. I watched all 5 days, and felt Australia as a whole played the game in excellent spirit during this test. This article is ridiculously slanted towards the losing team, which always seems to find something to complain about (especially when it is against the all-conquering Aussies!)

  • MickP on January 6, 2008, 11:58 GMT

    Lets ignore the possibility of human error for a moment, with 12 weary players on the field, an intensifying onfield atmosphere and an ever changing professional landscape, how can it ever fall to the players to adjudicate a sporting event? If a player wants to make a concession against their favor, by walking or admitting a dropped catch, thats fantastic. If they dont, or they make an assertion in their favor, then it is up to the adjudicating officials to make a judgment based on the evidence of the event. Pillorying players for walking or not walking, or appealing or not appealing, is ridiculous. Trying to hold professional sportsmen to some sort of 18th century amateur ethics is likewise ridiculous - even if they choose to subscribe to it themselves. They cant be more than loose guidelines in the face of the modern concerns of professional sportsmanship. Equip officials to adjudicate on the playing rules hold players to simple codes of conduct. Leave the rest on the playing field.

  • JohnG on January 6, 2008, 11:58 GMT

    First, I agree that the umpiring was very poor - not up to Test match standard. Clearly Australia got the rub of the green in this test (I'd say 60/40). You can argue for ever how many runs Symonds was "gifted", but Tendulkar scored lots of runs after Clarke appeared to have trapped him in front. Poor umpiring DOES affect cricket tests, and it even affects cricket series. Remember Billy Bowden giving Kasper out at Edgbaston in 2005 when the ball clearly hit the hand not holding the bat? Australia lost the game by two runs, and lost the Ashes 1-2. As a 'last wicket' decision this could truly be said to have affected a test series. The record book shows that England won the Ashes, and that Australia got on with the job at hand and didn't protest to the ICC. I like Reiffel's suggestion of challenges to go to the 3rd umpire. And as for Australia's celebration (at equalling the record) it paled against Harbjhan's tumble when he got Ponting - ridiculous! I bet he gets let off tonight.

  • tigertrav on January 6, 2008, 11:56 GMT

    Well said NJF1966 @ 11:06..., While all would agree there were some decisions that should have gone the other way.., for BOTH sides, this story reeks of a trumped up one sided take that someone of Peter's position should be beyond penning to be honest. "Turned in disgust and threw darts with his eyes".., c'mon Pete - I saw that too and the "Mills and Boon" dramatisation simply was not there. "Bucknor judged a wrong'un to be going over the stumps when Symonds pushed forward"?? - hawkeye agreed - non issue.., why is this included in your argument? - ah that's right.., to enhance the one-sidedness... After all the song and dance created in your article Peter, the sum of all the issues really amounts to 2 decisions (Symonds nick and Dravid's lbw) that went against India. Next test, it might be Australia that comes off second best.., you make your own luck.., and that's cricket. P.S. This victory means a LOT more than a 20/20 cup win, don;t you reckon!??....

  • nodach on January 6, 2008, 11:54 GMT

    Great article. Some of the comments are absurd, though. What do hawkeye, snicko and hot spot have to do with the quality of umpiring? Are we unable to hear genuine edges anymore? "Umpires are allowed to make mistakes" is a rubbish argument. When Ponting edged it legside in the first innings, the ball was nowhere near anything but the bat. Everyone heard it. Clear decisions are occasionally botched, but to the extent of this match is absolutely absurd in the professional era of the game.

    Oh, and to he who said Australians never whinge: when Sangakkara made his brilliant 192, Ponting chose to focus on his pet-hate, exemplified by Sangakkara's reprieval early in the first innings before he went on to make 50. The fact that Sangakkara (and Sri Lanka) was shafted out of a double century (and potentially a chance at victory)by a clearly-poor decision seemed to escape his analysis. Why take the bad anymore? It's been happening for years, and this isn't the first spectacle it's ruined.

  • Shash28 on January 6, 2008, 11:54 GMT

    I can't remember the last time Australia had to "whine" about decisions costing them test matches... if you can... please refresh my memory... of-course I'm young. Btw I'm niether an Indian or Aussie supporter... this has just killed the series...

  • ssm2407 on January 6, 2008, 11:51 GMT

    Im not one who normally writes in, but after witnessing the events at the SCG in this test I felt I had option but to vent my feelings. When an all aussie commentary team say Australia have had the best of the umpiring then something is seriously wrong. Ian Chappell summed it up perfectly on the last day as Symonds went to retrieve a stray return & put his hand on Steve Bucknor - 'Its no wonder Symonds has his arm round Bucknor; he can thank him for a few things in this game!'. Its not Funny. Indian fans have long witnessed the catalogue of incompetence from Bucknor, but this match really tops the lot. Mark Benson was hardly faultless but his partner is one who should have been given the Man of the Match award! Its hard enough beating the aussies without such decisions not going your way. Their attitude& on field demeanour leaves a lot to be desired and does not endear them to the true cricket fan. Playing ugly & getting the benefit so many blatant decisions is no way to win any match

  • Regulate on January 6, 2008, 11:44 GMT

    The series scoreboard should be Australia 1, Umpires 1 and India 0. I paid 80 bucks in Canada to watch this series on my computer and must say that I'm am disgusted both with the Australians and the Umpiring. Those who say Australians had had breaks as well, need to put down what they are smoking. LBW shouts are always tough and you can understand those going either way. But Symonds knick on 30 was obvious to everyone in the world besides the umpire. Replays are needed for decisions like that bc that decicion won Australia this match not their play. I thought it was the worst decision I have seen until the Dravid catch decision. I mean come on. Furthermore, Pointing claims to support players claiming thier own catches but he should be ashamed of himself. Both for the Ganguly catch and his own of Dhoni he tried to claim. I am new to cricket as my cousins have recently introduced me to the game, but I have never seen any sport decided by refs like that. Apalling.

  • Sri-Lankan_Lion on January 6, 2008, 11:42 GMT

    First of all Crincinfo, I should thank you for posting this argument about umpiring and Australian.I have noticed this many times, even in the recent series against Sri-lanka, Sangakkara was given out to a delivery that everyone can see was coming from his shoulders. I mean, comeone, you can't say that umpiring decisions are under pressure and their mistakes are human errors. It's not human errors, umpires are not seen as humans, they are the GODS of the match: they have the fate of the game in their hands and one just one decision can cost the team their game as it has for Indian. Well to the argument of Ponting, if he was fair with the catch he caught, why wasn't he fair with his nick grom Ganguly in the first innings of second match? Why was he appealing for out of Dhoni when he dropped the ball to the ground? Why was telling the umpire what the decision should be? Only if these questions can been answered we can assure Australia won in the real spirit of the game.

  • jamiebeans on January 6, 2008, 11:41 GMT

    At the end of the day if India were good enough to win this the umpiring wouldn't have mattered. I think it's sour grapes more than anything, and it detracts from the mammoth effort of Australia to record 16 Test victories in a row

  • Shash28 on January 6, 2008, 11:40 GMT

    Alot of these questions should have been asked long ago... this reminds me of the third test in South Africa when Hayden claimed a grassed catch off Rudolph that was given out while... a South African mistakenly refused one he had taken cleanly. It's tough when decisions go against you always... its not simply about whinging... (I am niether Indian nor Australian... just a cricket supporter from Sri Lanka in the US... gives me some leverage)But Australian attitude towards the game, yes we accept their cultural difference, hasn't been one of their qualities... and Ponting's complaint? Let's see how that fairs out... I can't even mention some of the things mentioned on the 95 SL tour of Australia... if only we could.

  • slimbo3103 on January 6, 2008, 11:36 GMT

    Peter English is only half right. "If"s, "But"s and "Maybe"s play a role in all sporting outcomes. Granted, the umpiring in this test was sub-standard. But to say it was lop-sided or unfair is reticent to the Australian performance. Yes, what "if" Symonds had been given out on 31. "But" he was only at the crease because Ponting had been wrongly judged LBW before him. "Maybe" we wouldn't be debating all this if Ponting was earlier judged caught behind. "But" it takes a tough team to overcome adversity. The only way India would have won this test was with luck. What "if" Symonds hadn't dropped a Dravid sitter at first slip. We would not have a consequent dismissal to be critical of. What "if" Clarke had snapped up a tough first slip chance delivered to him by Ganguly off Symonds. We would not be debating his catch shortly after. Create an argument to make yourself look intelligent by all means, but do it fairly, or people might start pointing the "integrity" finger at you, Mr English

  • goodgame on January 6, 2008, 11:35 GMT

    Oh dear - Never mind the standard of umpiring, what about the standard of journalism. Any pretense of actually taking an objective view is gone. Every decision that has even the slightest shadow of doubt is logged down as a national insult against india - all in the name of generating a good story. Ganguly was so patently out today, it was not only embarrasing to see him standing there demanding he be given not out, it is more embarrassing to see journalists trying to make something of it because they are so caught up in the bandwagon - take a deep breath everyone - have a break. whie there was a small element of uncertanty, it was clearly the right decision made by the umpires. On top of that every time an Australian player expresses some emotion over a decision, they are labled as furious or grumbling. Get a grip - the only question is 'did they then turn around and get on with the game' - answer yes! end of story (just not the end of a beat up it would seem)

  • russplow on January 6, 2008, 11:24 GMT

    Umpires have got a pretty tough job, some of the 50/50 decisions did go Australia's way. But to say that it cost India the game is a cop out, both teams played well and it was a great game to watch. The only thing that cost India the game was India, if a batsman is beaten by a bowler and its up to the umpire to decide then thats their fault for getting into that position. If you're not playing shots, mis-hitting, or missing all together then you're not batting well and you're going to get out. Its a mental game as well, if you can psyche the opposition out then you're going to get an advantage, its up to the batsman to rise above and stick it back to them. Australia are the best in the world, India really took it to them, take nothing away from them.

  • tkoshy on January 6, 2008, 11:17 GMT

    Very informative article. Well done Sir, you've told it like it really is. Certainly was a shame to see a winner and a loser on the day, with both teams playing well.

  • VJ_IND on January 6, 2008, 11:16 GMT

    I agree with the views of Peter. Cricket is at a loss here. Public loses interest when a game[cricket or any other game] is based on luck and not by the efforts of the players. No wonder Cricket is not part of Olympics and I think will never be, with such silly holes in the system.

    Anyway, the Indian team has proved that this Australian team are mere mortals, by stretching them so far.

  • davidji on January 6, 2008, 11:15 GMT

    Umpires are the softest targets for armchair experts who have the benefit of Snicko, Slo-mo replays, Hawkeye and multiple camera angles. Yep the umpires made numerous bad decisions in the game, but we now know every time whether they were right or not. The level of past tense scrutiny umpires now endure is way over the top. Technology has rendered their performances akin to top level university exams. And they're the only ones not allowed access to all of the information being tested.

  • leggyspaghetti8_-. on January 6, 2008, 11:10 GMT

    More sour grapes. Why does the editor only make mention of 1 out of the 5 bad decisions that went against Australia. Umpires will make mistakes and as was mentioned in this article they all even themselves out in the long run. In this case they evened themselves out in the one test match. Congratulations Australia for never publicly whinging about the umpiring and always getting on with the task at hand. While most other teams and there media are taking there eyes off the ball, the Australians will keep on keeping on.

  • CJoe on January 6, 2008, 11:10 GMT

    It was really mind upsetting to find the Australians always escape the sight of umpires/officials/ICC, or is it that ICC and umpires support always Australia, which people are forced to believe cause always its a case where teams like India, Pakistan, Srilanka, England, South Africa, etc suffer with decisions and ultimately cause a loss in losing matches.

    It is time the Indian management make a forceful letter along with other cricketing nations support India to make ICC change this way of handling things for ever.

    It was hardening to see all decisions done against India in this just concluded India-Australia 2nd test at Sydney, I cannot accept India losing this test, cause I am sure this test would have either ended in a draw or India winning or at least Australia winning it decently with the right spirit.

    Australia, it is pathetic to see your spirit for the game of cricket with the way you appealed for Dravid and Sourav's wickets. Come on, its a game, you can win or lose!!!

  • dieter on January 6, 2008, 11:08 GMT

    A typical Home Town disgrace. To say both umpires had bad days is simply not good enough because they both had five disgraceful days each. Surely the only way to play this game fairly is to use all the technology available. Had even one of these umpires been even halfway competent in this test match India would not have lost, indeed could have won. If you doubt this subtract Symond's and Ponting's free runs in the first innings.

  • Premchand on January 6, 2008, 11:08 GMT

    So many errors by umpires in a single test and no penalty to them. Use of the third umpire and decision not to use it. Had a player misbehaved for being given out wrongly, he would have been reprimanded, fined or even banned but when the umpire does it, no penalty ? Especially when we have ALL his new technology a radio transmittal away from the playing field.

    Steve Bucknor should be penalised because on more than one occassion in ths last match he refused to call for the third umpire because of his traditional ways of umpiring and on both instances he made the wrong call and it did cost India the game as Australis's first innings would have been 200 runs less and at least 60 runs less in the second innings.

    It is high time the ICC demand the use of technology from the umpires, failing which you will be penalised

  • blue_feijoa on January 6, 2008, 11:07 GMT

    Good call, Peter English. The Australian team are great at playing hard done by- it is the nature of the professional game. Micheal Clarke not walking is an easy decision when your livelihood depends on not getting out. I get sick though, of the Australian (mainly media and over the hill commentators) mentality that they are representative of the 'spirit of the game' Everytime a McGrath or Symonds or Ponting sledges an opponent it is spoken of as being competitive or 'showing a bit of mongrel'. Harbajhan Singh or Ganguly do it and the imaginary line (I guess set by someone with Australian allegances and tainted by what seems like a racial division) is crossed. Pull your head in Australia, you like to win so much even the suggestion of competition gets you upset.

  • Munch on January 6, 2008, 11:07 GMT

    It is defintely time for Steve Bucknor to retire. He is now making howlers in every test he stands. As for Australia's 'Spirit of Cricket'!? I fully agree with the comments made by Peter English. Why trust Clarke and Ponting to give the batsman out when Clarke (and Symonds)have chosen not to walk when clearly out. This test was not a question of the Australians making their own luck - they just got very lucky and I sympathise with the tourists.

  • NJF1966 on January 6, 2008, 11:06 GMT

    Whilst I admit the standard of umpiring was poor, it seems some commentators (and Indian players and officials) have conveniently overlooked the poor decisions which have gone India's way. For example, Michael Clarke had Tendulkar PLUMB LBW in the 1st innings when he was 30, and the little master went on to score 154*. I haven't heard that mentioned when people have complained about the apparent bias towards Australia. This represents poor journalism (on the part of the media) and selective memories on the part of the complaining Indian players and officials. You take the good with the bad and nobody likes a whinging loser.

  • dieter on January 6, 2008, 10:58 GMT

    I can't agree more. I'm Australian yet feel disgusted by the arrogant, chauvanistic way Australians play cricket, from the constant pressure on umpires - no wonder they give so many crap decisions in Australia's favour - to the sheer petulance when things don't go their way. Much comment was made about Symond's admission that he'd snicked a catch but didn't walk. What was much more reprehensible was Ponting's behaviour when he copped a bad decision in the first innings. So what, Ricky, you'd already been given not out when you were so blatantly out. I also loathe the way Gilchrist is used as a model of 'Good Behaviour' because he walked ONCE! What about the number of times he's succesfully appealed for catches when he's bloody well known the batsman was nowhere near the ball - today's appeal against Dravid was just the most recent example, not to mention the appeal against Dhoni. And what about the sheer sanctimoniousness of accusing someone of sledging them! What a bloody joke!

  • ObserverUS on January 6, 2008, 10:57 GMT

    Umpiring is perhaps the most difficult job on the field. Most of the ICC 'elite panel' are well suited, and indeed the quality of umpiring at the international level is generally quite good, although unfortunately one must question whether some like Ian Gould really belong. But certainly recognition must be given to those like Steve Bucknor and Mark Benson whose experience and steadiness over many years cannot be in doubt.

    Every umpire is only human and has moments that just don't work out. One call almost never can change the outcome of a match. And certainly the home side will get a slight advantage on calls overall in any sport. But what we saw at the SCG is umpiring that did not merely change the momentary balance but the overall character of an entire test. This is not a good thing for the game.

    The fault is not really to Bucknor and Benson. The root problem is that the ICC is overworking the elite crews, to the detriment of the game itself.

  • JayK on January 6, 2008, 10:52 GMT

    Great article Peter, very honest and hard-hitting. and well accumulated.

    one thing though. as George Binoy said in the commentary, Michael Clarke, after taking Ganguly's catch, rolled over, and supported himself with the ball pressing on the ground. so that has to a clear NOT OUT. besides, to me, the catch was taken on first bounce itself.

    Warm Regards, Jay

  • CricHemant on January 6, 2008, 10:52 GMT

    Definitely the umpiring standards were short of international standards. But one would expect consistency even in that. Except one, for all the bad decisions to go in favor of one particular side, and the home side at that raises a lot of questions other than just bad umpiring.

    There was no honour for Australia in winning this test. They can have the record by winning the next match too, but there is absolutely no honour there in this record.

    Ponting made a statement that his integrity cannot be questioned, but he left no doubt of his lack of integrity - by appealing for a catch that he had not caught cleanly, and by claiming a catch (Clarke) that could not be confirmed as clean even after TV replays. It would have been better if he had indicated to the umpires that he did not know if the catch was clean or not. That would be integrity too.

    The Australian team have reached a a very deep low, and are not the same side that Waugh built up. Miles of difference between the two teams.

  • RevolteN on January 6, 2008, 10:52 GMT

    I have to agree with every word said. Although some of the incidents mentioned such as LBW's could be easily argued and understood, as even the hawk-eye has not been without controversy where it was suggested that it does not relay the 100% accuracy spectators think it does. On the other hand, I was absolutely shocked when an umpire of the stature of Steve Bucknor was too proud to ask for the third umpire on such a close situation that could definitely change the way of the match. As stated in another article in Cricinfo, where the technology is used to confirm if the batsmen earned 3 runs or he hit a 4, not allowing the third umpire to make the decision was ridiculous. Many other chances, which have been mentioned in the article above, were thrown Australia's way. You have to question the competency of umpires, in choosing to take the word of the fielder for a controversial catch, yet asking the third umpire to confirm a run. If there was ever a time to make changes, it is now.

  • joyanand on January 6, 2008, 10:49 GMT

    One can forgive the blunder that steve bucknor made in ruling dravid out(as most of the indians have reconciled to the fact that he us anti indian in whatever he does) but why was a third umpire not referred to in ganguly's case. That was as bad a decision as you would ever come across in your lifetime as it changed the match on it's head. Mr benson relied his decision on ponting's when he himself so voiceforeously claimed a catch which he never took. Accepted that they were slightly better than the indian team but have lost credibility on all counts. It was shocking to see Gilchrist appealing on some of those situations. One wonders whether he has created this image of 'mr walker' only for these tight match changing situation when umpires tend to believe more on gilchrisht than his own gut feeling. It's sad that such a gripping test had to end like this.

  • jesta85 on January 6, 2008, 10:42 GMT

    Mate I couldn't agree with you any more. It's really tough to see a visiting team come here and play so well dominate the first few days of the test only to have it all undone because of the umpires making errors of judgment. OK fair enough, you get a few mistakes being made in test cricket matches maybe 2-3 a match, but this was unbelievable. Born and bred here in Oz, its sad to see matches decided like this. If you have technology...use it I say.

  • PhilHill on January 6, 2008, 10:35 GMT

    I was at the Melbourne test match and notice that Benson stands too far back from the stumps. He missed several Kumble no balls on the first day.

    I am an umpire myself so I always spend some time with field glasses on the Umpires. I had a perfect view of the popping crease at Benson's end on the first day at Melbourne. One look at where Benson was standing and I knew he would miss no balls.Kumble was not the only one.

    Thank goodness that Symons, today, dropped the chance at first slip as Johnson had got away with another no ball. I wonder that this obvious flaw in Benson's technique is not corrected.

    Kumble,at Melbourne, also bowled several overs with 3 men behind square leg before the New Zealand Clown Umpire noticed the fieldsman behind him at deep backward square leg and started to gesticulate madly at the Indian player to get in Front of square.

    As an umpire it is these fundamental things that should never happen that worry me.

  • cook on January 6, 2008, 10:34 GMT

    Terrible umpiring but at the same time a terrible article. Admittedly India got the worst of the descisions. But the Aussies didn't have all the decisions go their way either. The appeal by Symonds that was rejected. I'm not sure which game you were watching but there was no exaggeration by Symonds over any appeal that was turned down. The Clarke catch appeared to be a fair catch also, so to say he can't be trusted is totally unfair. In similar situations all around the world in tense matches such as this one, teams appeal as much as they can, not just Australia. And how quickly you have forgotten all the terrible decisions Australia recieved in their last couple of test match series in India !!

  • Frederick on January 6, 2008, 10:32 GMT

    I fully agree with Peter English's sentiments. And I should think that a good many Australians do. It was a hollow victory and Mr Ponting ought to desist from preaching to others. My congrats to Kumble and the Indian team for maintaining the spirit of cricket.

  • Pappi on January 6, 2008, 10:27 GMT

    Excellent article by Peter English. My advice to ICC is as follows: 1. Retire Steve Bucknor immediately. 2. Send Mark Benson on a refresher course for umpires, then he should officiate county matches for a year and then reappear for an umpire's test. Seems Mark Benson was behaving like a " poodle " of Ricky Ponting. Regards,

    Prakash Java Dubai

  • Manohar12 on January 6, 2008, 10:21 GMT

    "Benson & Edges" The Sydney Test Match was an absolute thriller. We saw some good cricket but it has to be said that the Aussies maintain double standards. You can't say that players can be consulted for deciding if catches are taken cleanly on one hand and stand your ground despite edging balls to the keeper. The umpiring has been awful but the Aussies have no credibility whatsoever when they appeal. Its ridiculuous that Gilchrist on one hand claims to be a walker when he bats and resorts to appealing despite knowing fully well that the bat was nowhere close to the ball. The Aussies continue to be ugly when they field and uglier when they bat. And hey they swear that they play the game hard & fair! Well, for them to swear means to abuse!

  • Skids on January 6, 2008, 10:17 GMT

    It has been a depressing series for India in terms of umpiring decisions. When such mistakes start swaying the end result of a hard fought match, you can almost feel the Indian supporters baying for the blood of Steve Bucknor. At the end, the Indian bowlers were so unimpressed by the standard of umpiring on display, the bowlers didn't even bother to appeal...because they knew it's an exercise in vanity.

    This is a case of technology being of more use. What's the use of playing against Australia, if just their appeal is sufficient for a wicket, whereas India's appeal + replays results in "not out????" The fairness of the contest is gone! The umpires are killing the game!

  • Felix_Paul on January 6, 2008, 10:10 GMT

    Peter, Your writeup re the Australians style of appealing was excellent! It always seems that the bad umpiring decisions go against the visting teams in Australia. Even the previous test series where Kumar Sangakarra was given out on 192 when replays clearly showed his bat was no where near... Sri Lanka might have even won that one, the way Sangakkara was batting. This was one of the several bad decisions in that series. I don't think Australia need this kind of luck and it definitely takes the credibility away! We have to start using technology in umpiring to create a level playing field. USE IT IF IT IS AVAILABLE!

  • sandeepcrush on January 6, 2008, 10:08 GMT

    Terribly poor, ICC and Bcci should take this issue very seriously,, if it goes like this it will effect the game a lot. Aussies doesnt deserve to win this test match at all.. they won this match only because of Umpires. In my opinion its time for Mr. Bucknor to retire.And its very surprising that the lack of professionalism (sportsman spirit) from the Aussies.

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  • sandeepcrush on January 6, 2008, 10:08 GMT

    Terribly poor, ICC and Bcci should take this issue very seriously,, if it goes like this it will effect the game a lot. Aussies doesnt deserve to win this test match at all.. they won this match only because of Umpires. In my opinion its time for Mr. Bucknor to retire.And its very surprising that the lack of professionalism (sportsman spirit) from the Aussies.

  • Felix_Paul on January 6, 2008, 10:10 GMT

    Peter, Your writeup re the Australians style of appealing was excellent! It always seems that the bad umpiring decisions go against the visting teams in Australia. Even the previous test series where Kumar Sangakarra was given out on 192 when replays clearly showed his bat was no where near... Sri Lanka might have even won that one, the way Sangakkara was batting. This was one of the several bad decisions in that series. I don't think Australia need this kind of luck and it definitely takes the credibility away! We have to start using technology in umpiring to create a level playing field. USE IT IF IT IS AVAILABLE!

  • Skids on January 6, 2008, 10:17 GMT

    It has been a depressing series for India in terms of umpiring decisions. When such mistakes start swaying the end result of a hard fought match, you can almost feel the Indian supporters baying for the blood of Steve Bucknor. At the end, the Indian bowlers were so unimpressed by the standard of umpiring on display, the bowlers didn't even bother to appeal...because they knew it's an exercise in vanity.

    This is a case of technology being of more use. What's the use of playing against Australia, if just their appeal is sufficient for a wicket, whereas India's appeal + replays results in "not out????" The fairness of the contest is gone! The umpires are killing the game!

  • Manohar12 on January 6, 2008, 10:21 GMT

    "Benson & Edges" The Sydney Test Match was an absolute thriller. We saw some good cricket but it has to be said that the Aussies maintain double standards. You can't say that players can be consulted for deciding if catches are taken cleanly on one hand and stand your ground despite edging balls to the keeper. The umpiring has been awful but the Aussies have no credibility whatsoever when they appeal. Its ridiculuous that Gilchrist on one hand claims to be a walker when he bats and resorts to appealing despite knowing fully well that the bat was nowhere close to the ball. The Aussies continue to be ugly when they field and uglier when they bat. And hey they swear that they play the game hard & fair! Well, for them to swear means to abuse!

  • Pappi on January 6, 2008, 10:27 GMT

    Excellent article by Peter English. My advice to ICC is as follows: 1. Retire Steve Bucknor immediately. 2. Send Mark Benson on a refresher course for umpires, then he should officiate county matches for a year and then reappear for an umpire's test. Seems Mark Benson was behaving like a " poodle " of Ricky Ponting. Regards,

    Prakash Java Dubai

  • Frederick on January 6, 2008, 10:32 GMT

    I fully agree with Peter English's sentiments. And I should think that a good many Australians do. It was a hollow victory and Mr Ponting ought to desist from preaching to others. My congrats to Kumble and the Indian team for maintaining the spirit of cricket.

  • cook on January 6, 2008, 10:34 GMT

    Terrible umpiring but at the same time a terrible article. Admittedly India got the worst of the descisions. But the Aussies didn't have all the decisions go their way either. The appeal by Symonds that was rejected. I'm not sure which game you were watching but there was no exaggeration by Symonds over any appeal that was turned down. The Clarke catch appeared to be a fair catch also, so to say he can't be trusted is totally unfair. In similar situations all around the world in tense matches such as this one, teams appeal as much as they can, not just Australia. And how quickly you have forgotten all the terrible decisions Australia recieved in their last couple of test match series in India !!

  • PhilHill on January 6, 2008, 10:35 GMT

    I was at the Melbourne test match and notice that Benson stands too far back from the stumps. He missed several Kumble no balls on the first day.

    I am an umpire myself so I always spend some time with field glasses on the Umpires. I had a perfect view of the popping crease at Benson's end on the first day at Melbourne. One look at where Benson was standing and I knew he would miss no balls.Kumble was not the only one.

    Thank goodness that Symons, today, dropped the chance at first slip as Johnson had got away with another no ball. I wonder that this obvious flaw in Benson's technique is not corrected.

    Kumble,at Melbourne, also bowled several overs with 3 men behind square leg before the New Zealand Clown Umpire noticed the fieldsman behind him at deep backward square leg and started to gesticulate madly at the Indian player to get in Front of square.

    As an umpire it is these fundamental things that should never happen that worry me.

  • jesta85 on January 6, 2008, 10:42 GMT

    Mate I couldn't agree with you any more. It's really tough to see a visiting team come here and play so well dominate the first few days of the test only to have it all undone because of the umpires making errors of judgment. OK fair enough, you get a few mistakes being made in test cricket matches maybe 2-3 a match, but this was unbelievable. Born and bred here in Oz, its sad to see matches decided like this. If you have technology...use it I say.

  • joyanand on January 6, 2008, 10:49 GMT

    One can forgive the blunder that steve bucknor made in ruling dravid out(as most of the indians have reconciled to the fact that he us anti indian in whatever he does) but why was a third umpire not referred to in ganguly's case. That was as bad a decision as you would ever come across in your lifetime as it changed the match on it's head. Mr benson relied his decision on ponting's when he himself so voiceforeously claimed a catch which he never took. Accepted that they were slightly better than the indian team but have lost credibility on all counts. It was shocking to see Gilchrist appealing on some of those situations. One wonders whether he has created this image of 'mr walker' only for these tight match changing situation when umpires tend to believe more on gilchrisht than his own gut feeling. It's sad that such a gripping test had to end like this.