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January 11, 2008
Sourav Ganguly has said that umpire Mark Benson should have consulted Steve Bucknor in adjudicating on the controversial catch which led to his dismissal in the second innings of the second Test against Australia in Sydney.
Batting on 51, Ganguly had edged Brett Lee low to Michael Clarke at second slip who immediately claimed the catch and the Australians celebrated before awaiting the umpire's decision. Ganguly, convinced that the catch hadn't carried, waited at the crease. Benson opted not to consult Bucknor at square leg and instead took Ricky Ponting's word that the catch was legitimate.
It was among several decisions that went against India through the Test and played a big part in their defeat. But Ganguly was willing to shrug off the disappointment and said that the playing conditions need to be respected if agreed upon before the series.
"I thought he [Benson] could have done a better job speaking to Steve Bucknor," Ganguly told the channel Star Cricket during the second day of the warm-up game against the ACT XI in Canberra. "The moment I nicked it I turned back and saw it didn't carry. But that's the way is. It was agreed to stick by the captain's word and we have to stay with that.
"If it's a decision by the captains then I think in modern day cricket it's fine. But the umpires have a responsibility too. You can leave it to the fielders but the umpires have to make a judgment. I think the umpires should interfere if they feel it's a 50-50."
The umpiring aside, the Test ended in acrimony after offspinner Harbhajan Singh was charged with making an alleged racist remark to Andrew Symonds. Kumble, speaking after the game, said the Australians were guilty of not playing with the right spirit. His feelings were shared by several Australians, including former players who weren't impressed by Ponting's conduct.
Ganguly however said that he admired Australia's hunger to win. "Sometimes things happen at the heat of the moment. But I also admired how desperate they were to win. That's not a bad thing in sport. Some decisions didn't go our way. It hurt us. On the other side, it showed why they win so many Test matches."
Down 2-0 in the series, Ganguly said the team was a happy bunch and that the Perth Test will be a true measure of how good they are. He agreed that the team was a little under-done before the first Test and that a second tour game would have helped.
"It's a happy team. We had a good year before this series. I spoke to the Indian board and said one warm-up was not enough. We should have had two. We had the Pakistan home series so it was difficult to fit in another game."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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