Australia v England, 4th Test, Melbourne, 2nd day December 27, 2010

Siddle's efforts clouded in controversy

28

Peter Siddle was Australia's everywhere man, including a brief stint as a self-appointed on-field spokesman, as the hosts tried but failed to stay in touch with England at the MCG. He was part of all five dismissals on the second day, gaining three wickets and collecting two catches, and was initially the lead protagonist in an argument with Aleem Dar over whether Kevin Pietersen should have been given out caught behind.

Siddle assumed the role of senior pro instead of 21-Test student in the initial negotiations with Dar after Australia's referral for an inside edge had been dismissed due to a lack of evidence. Having over-reacted in the middle, with a series of arm waving and arguing with Dar before Ponting took over the debate, Siddle hid behind a series of "no comments" after play, looking equally as silly as he did during the original incident occurred. He briefly expanded to say of the exchange that "it's just cricket".

It was an eventful day for the earthy resident Victorian, who appeals more to the punters in Bay 13 than the Melbourne Cricket Club members. Siddle knows his audience too, turning to the general admission seats and his team-mates to celebrate his successes with his wild roars and over-played gestures.

An hour after stumps Siddle would not explain why there was confusion over the Pietersen decision, with a Cricket Australia official saying they did not want to jeopardise a potential hearing. Brad Haddin was the only fielder to hear the nick and he convinced Ponting to contest the appeal. It looked obvious to everyone with a television replay that there was no inside edge, but Siddle and Ponting sensed injustice after watching the same footage on the big screen. Ponting received a fine of 40% of his match fee for his protests.

Siddle's logic during his press conference became so muddled that he said the players should look to Ponting for inspiration as they try to save the match over the next three days. Ponting has scored 93 runs in four Tests, has a broken finger, and finally cracked publicly under the pressure to avoid losing an Ashes series for the third time. He argued with Dar over two overs during the Pietersen episode and also had grumpy exchanges with the batsman and Tony Hill, the other umpire.

"He is the same man, a strong character," Siddle said of Ponting. "He always works hard, backs you up to the hilt and leads by example. That is what we go by."

A better example of how to play at the moment would come from taking an interest in England, who lead by 346 runs and still have five first-innings wickets in hand. Without Siddle, who performed extremely well whenever he had the ball, the situation would be even worse. His 3 for 58 from 26 overs provided the side with penetration and a crucial element of control, but despite all of the heroics Australia are still a speck in England's rear-view mirror.

Siddle provided a spark on the second morning by removing Alastair Cook and Andrew Strauss within 13 runs of the resumption. The delivery to dismiss Strauss was a brute, with the batsman edging the rising ball to gully after trying to steer to the legside. Australia's problem was that the wickets didn't come on the opening afternoon, when England had already careered past their first-innings 98.

Siddle wasn't bowling at the time of the Pietersen controversy so Ponting cleverly redirected his fire and was rewarded almost immediately. Bowling around 140 kph, he got one to stay low and had Pietersen lbw for 51. While the delivery provided some much-needed cheer, it also caused more doubts for the batsmen who will be charged with the second-innings rescue.

At fine-leg Siddle was also highly effective. Instead of regaining his breath in between overs he caught Paul Collingwood and Ian Bell when they hooked carelessly at Mitchell Johnson before tea. The lunging, low take of Bell was particularly athletic and Siddle's string of useful contributions showed his value to the side. He just has to stay involved in the right way, instead of jumping into arguments on behalf of his team-mates.

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dpool on December 28, 2010, 3:54 GMT

    A guilty plea often comes with a degree of contrition, and an acknowledgment that they'd done the wrong thing...that aspect of of it always tends to lessen the punishment.

  • landl47 on December 28, 2010, 3:18 GMT

    @intcamd: Paul Collingwood, when he was England's one-day captain, was suspended for 4 games because of England's slow over rate. Tell me an example of a sub-continental player getting punished more for doing less.

  • on December 28, 2010, 2:17 GMT

    Substitute Ponting siddle and dar with Afridi,Akhter and Simon Taufel. Do you think the result would have been different. The worlds media would have had a field day!

  • aracer on December 28, 2010, 0:13 GMT

    So why does pleading guilty make quite so much difference to the punishment? It's not as if it's saving significant amounts of court time and trauma for witnesses as in a criminal case.

    As much respect as I have for Punter's achievements as a batsman (and captain, though you could describe that as being lucky enough to have Warne and McGrath along with a team full of world class batsmen), he's showing his worst side here. It would have been kind of amusing had the match referee finished his career here, if as seems plausible he resigns or gets the shove after this series (I suspect the only thing that might save him from that is the weakness of the obvious replacements).

  • on December 27, 2010, 22:41 GMT

    What a travesty of justice, Ponting and Siddle bring the game into terrible disrepute, one gets fined a paltry $5400 and the other gets off scot-free. Why can't the match referees take a firm stand against Australians, what is it about them that gets them off so easily ?

  • on December 27, 2010, 22:39 GMT

    (contd)....his excellent decision making in the ashes so far and his(calm and composed) role in the whole ugly incident yesterday and then having the courage to call Johnson for a no ball correctly and still getting all the decisions right...very few umpires would have that sort of courage and judgement( especially when the opponent captain is as arrogant and unruly as ponting) and if that does not get him his. Hattrick of ICC umpire of the year award, I don't know what will. A brilliant job Mr dar, you were incredible and truly the top ranked umpire in the world .... Keep going for 3 more days...I always was a true fan of ur courage and umpiring especially avaunt the Aussies when I saw u first in the ashes 2005... Cheers

  • dhurandhar007 on December 27, 2010, 22:35 GMT

    @ Yasser Yousufi: You are absolutely right. I remember some years ago, Ranjan Madugulle fined an Asian player severely for saying something on the field in Australi, but let the Australians go scott free even when they were raining expletives on the Asian team and were the ones to start the provocation. All that Ranjan Madugulle had to say was somethinng to the effect that "using expletives was the Australian players' way of life or a way of talking and what was a part of their life or vocabulary can not be taken against them. Therefore he did not reprimand them".

  • D.V.C. on December 27, 2010, 22:34 GMT

    I can only assume that the replay screen at the MCG has some damaged 'saturated' pixels near where the edge would have been. I can't think of any other reasonable occurrence to precipitate this turn of events. For everyone complaining that Asian cricketers always seem to end up with worse fines, it's an Asian Match Referee at the MCG. You'd think he'd be aware of the inconsistency!

  • on December 27, 2010, 22:30 GMT

    @legendmike: totally agree, except we can at least say benn was repeatedly involved in bad behaviour throughout and body contact hence the suspension somewhat was justified... Of course, haddin shd have got a more serious punishment for his role...coming back to yesterday, Ian chappel himself said that ponting has had a history of going after the umpires every now and then and taking his prev records into account he definitely shda been handed out at least a match ban.... But hey, maybe that's what the ref thought would be th harshest punishment since another failure inevitably looms for ponting at Sydney which shd ultimately lead to his getting the boot:p and @yasser: totally agree mate, I have been watching since ashes 2005 from when Shane warne and ricky ponting have been going at umpire dar for not getting wring decisions in their favour, something other umpires would be too scared to do.... I belive umpire aleem dar deserves a third consecutive umpire of the year on the basis of

  • dhurandhar007 on December 27, 2010, 22:21 GMT

    I am an Indian and fan of Ponting and have respect and admiration for the guy. I have been watching the Ashes on the TV in the hope that I will be able to watch at least one magnificient knock from this modern day Australian legend. But what he did yesterday on field was despicable and reminded of the infamous 2008 Sydney test vs India where he acted as the Judge, Advocate, and Jury, raising fingers and passing out verdicts against Indian batters in case of dubious catches. Like then, he looked so silly yesterday. OK, let us think of what he was arguing for. He was saying that even though the TV Umpire decided KP was not out, Aleem Dar should overrule the TV Umpire and declare KP out because he (Ponting) believed it was out. Was this ever going to happen? Was Ponting out of his mind? I think it is not his fault. The Australians are so used to having it there way, right or wrong, so it was just his instinct playing out, forgetting that it is the age of TV Umpiring now.

  • dpool on December 28, 2010, 3:54 GMT

    A guilty plea often comes with a degree of contrition, and an acknowledgment that they'd done the wrong thing...that aspect of of it always tends to lessen the punishment.

  • landl47 on December 28, 2010, 3:18 GMT

    @intcamd: Paul Collingwood, when he was England's one-day captain, was suspended for 4 games because of England's slow over rate. Tell me an example of a sub-continental player getting punished more for doing less.

  • on December 28, 2010, 2:17 GMT

    Substitute Ponting siddle and dar with Afridi,Akhter and Simon Taufel. Do you think the result would have been different. The worlds media would have had a field day!

  • aracer on December 28, 2010, 0:13 GMT

    So why does pleading guilty make quite so much difference to the punishment? It's not as if it's saving significant amounts of court time and trauma for witnesses as in a criminal case.

    As much respect as I have for Punter's achievements as a batsman (and captain, though you could describe that as being lucky enough to have Warne and McGrath along with a team full of world class batsmen), he's showing his worst side here. It would have been kind of amusing had the match referee finished his career here, if as seems plausible he resigns or gets the shove after this series (I suspect the only thing that might save him from that is the weakness of the obvious replacements).

  • on December 27, 2010, 22:41 GMT

    What a travesty of justice, Ponting and Siddle bring the game into terrible disrepute, one gets fined a paltry $5400 and the other gets off scot-free. Why can't the match referees take a firm stand against Australians, what is it about them that gets them off so easily ?

  • on December 27, 2010, 22:39 GMT

    (contd)....his excellent decision making in the ashes so far and his(calm and composed) role in the whole ugly incident yesterday and then having the courage to call Johnson for a no ball correctly and still getting all the decisions right...very few umpires would have that sort of courage and judgement( especially when the opponent captain is as arrogant and unruly as ponting) and if that does not get him his. Hattrick of ICC umpire of the year award, I don't know what will. A brilliant job Mr dar, you were incredible and truly the top ranked umpire in the world .... Keep going for 3 more days...I always was a true fan of ur courage and umpiring especially avaunt the Aussies when I saw u first in the ashes 2005... Cheers

  • dhurandhar007 on December 27, 2010, 22:35 GMT

    @ Yasser Yousufi: You are absolutely right. I remember some years ago, Ranjan Madugulle fined an Asian player severely for saying something on the field in Australi, but let the Australians go scott free even when they were raining expletives on the Asian team and were the ones to start the provocation. All that Ranjan Madugulle had to say was somethinng to the effect that "using expletives was the Australian players' way of life or a way of talking and what was a part of their life or vocabulary can not be taken against them. Therefore he did not reprimand them".

  • D.V.C. on December 27, 2010, 22:34 GMT

    I can only assume that the replay screen at the MCG has some damaged 'saturated' pixels near where the edge would have been. I can't think of any other reasonable occurrence to precipitate this turn of events. For everyone complaining that Asian cricketers always seem to end up with worse fines, it's an Asian Match Referee at the MCG. You'd think he'd be aware of the inconsistency!

  • on December 27, 2010, 22:30 GMT

    @legendmike: totally agree, except we can at least say benn was repeatedly involved in bad behaviour throughout and body contact hence the suspension somewhat was justified... Of course, haddin shd have got a more serious punishment for his role...coming back to yesterday, Ian chappel himself said that ponting has had a history of going after the umpires every now and then and taking his prev records into account he definitely shda been handed out at least a match ban.... But hey, maybe that's what the ref thought would be th harshest punishment since another failure inevitably looms for ponting at Sydney which shd ultimately lead to his getting the boot:p and @yasser: totally agree mate, I have been watching since ashes 2005 from when Shane warne and ricky ponting have been going at umpire dar for not getting wring decisions in their favour, something other umpires would be too scared to do.... I belive umpire aleem dar deserves a third consecutive umpire of the year on the basis of

  • dhurandhar007 on December 27, 2010, 22:21 GMT

    I am an Indian and fan of Ponting and have respect and admiration for the guy. I have been watching the Ashes on the TV in the hope that I will be able to watch at least one magnificient knock from this modern day Australian legend. But what he did yesterday on field was despicable and reminded of the infamous 2008 Sydney test vs India where he acted as the Judge, Advocate, and Jury, raising fingers and passing out verdicts against Indian batters in case of dubious catches. Like then, he looked so silly yesterday. OK, let us think of what he was arguing for. He was saying that even though the TV Umpire decided KP was not out, Aleem Dar should overrule the TV Umpire and declare KP out because he (Ponting) believed it was out. Was this ever going to happen? Was Ponting out of his mind? I think it is not his fault. The Australians are so used to having it there way, right or wrong, so it was just his instinct playing out, forgetting that it is the age of TV Umpiring now.

  • dpool on December 27, 2010, 22:15 GMT

    Australians, Englishmen and South Africans tend to get lesser penalties because they usually plead guilty when fronted, and that always draws a lesser punishment. The racial issue here is that other nations generally insist they're innocent, despite all video evidence to the contrary, and get whacked the heavier punishment as a result of a "not guilty" plea.

    Everyone is arguing that Ponting and Siddle should be fined heavily for not accepting the Umpires' decision...aren't you doing the same? They've made a decision to fine him 40% - do what Ponting didn't: accept that they know their job and think their decision is appropriate. Walk away...

  • dilipm on December 27, 2010, 21:52 GMT

    Is Ponting some kind of a holy cow? He is the only international captain seen arguing regularly with umpires and getting away scot free.Match referees like Broad, Mudagalle and Jeff Crowe always seem to give him the benefit of doubt and, instead of taking punitive action, rap him lightly on the knuckles and let him go! Is he someone every special or venerable that he has to be cotton woolled? Yesterday he not only challenged Dar but also the 3rd Umpire. The replays clearly showed Pietersen had not edged the ball.When the decision was clear and was supported by the 3rd umpire, having access to TV replays with "hot spot" technology is Ponting trying to tell the umpires that they are lying? An action like this would have cost another captain a match ban and full match fees.Mudagalle only fined him 40% and let him go!Siddle should also have been harshly dealt with as it was none of his business to intefere. ICC should lay strict laws and make referees follow them strictly!

  • Cricket_my_Heartbeat on December 27, 2010, 21:41 GMT

    Why the standard of punishment is different for different countries. I reckon Ponting should get at least 3 match ban. As well Siddle should be punished heavily. Here double standard of ICC is fully cleared. Is this the way to save test cricket by humiliating umpires. Really disgusting I will say :(

  • insightfulcricketer on December 27, 2010, 20:30 GMT

    It was dreadful to see Ponting and Siddle haranguing with Aleem Dar a respected umpire for a call made by 3rd umpire. It does ring of bias to see Siddle getaway clear while Ponting getting away without a match suspension. Dhoni and Sangakara were banned for a few games for something as inane as failure to bowl quota of overs. What are they waiting for next? Ponting and his goons to put a stump right through an umpire before giving him a so horrible game suspension ???? wake up ICC you guys are proving yourselves as jack-asses all the time.Ponting we all know what to expect - he needs to be tamed.

  • on December 27, 2010, 20:21 GMT

    Ranjan Madugalle has been a Match Refree ever since I've been watching cricket and its not hard to understand how this slick Lankan has managed to keep this leisure job for so long after yet another abhorrent decision involving an aussie today. This guy definitely knows which side of the bread to butter. he will never punish players from big countries like England, Australia and India. There is no way players of color from the nations who do not have as much clout would be allowed to gang up on an umpire in such an intimidating manner and get away with it. Aleem Dar isn't the number one umpirefor nothing but Aussies have a history of going after him every season. Absolutely disgusting the way ICC handles these situations

  • landl47 on December 27, 2010, 20:06 GMT

    Siddle bowled very well and fielded brilliantly. He had no business sticking his nose into any discussion with the umpires and needs to be punished for that.

  • Munkeymomo on December 27, 2010, 20:01 GMT

    very true @hattima, I thought he would get punished much more when i saw the incident. seems a bit, 'one rule for one, anoher rule for another.'

  • legendmike on December 27, 2010, 19:15 GMT

    What's even more amazing is that Siddle hasn't been reprimanded at all for badgering the umpire....something seems very very fishy here. I recall Aus's last series with the West Indies in Oz, where there was an incident between Haddin, Johnson and Benn...Benn was Banned for TWO games for his alleged bad behaviour....this really wreaks.

  • on December 27, 2010, 19:11 GMT

    ponting.....led by example?????? haha............this is wt example he s giving to oz cricket team and fan..........still i rem tht match against india when he gave decision instead of empire.......lol

  • intcamd on December 27, 2010, 18:59 GMT

    It is one more instance of Australian or English players getting away, where Sub COntinental players get whacked for a much lesser offence. Angry debate, gesticulations, delaying the match - and just a paltry file for a millionnaire cricketer - yeah, painful! We all know of a hundred examples where Indians, Pakistanis got suspended for multiple matches and decked 100% of the match fee for a doing far less.

  • on December 27, 2010, 18:30 GMT

    We asians most of the time dont understand why the umpire report us - in most cases they may not be really understand why they got reported so we never plead guilty either ways so we get fined heavy!!!

  • braindead_rocker on December 27, 2010, 17:52 GMT

    Typical of an Australian bowler these days. The aggression is shown in their actions more than their bowling. The old bunch of Gilliespie and McGrath were angry and hot headed too but at least their quality of bowling justified it.

    Oh how the mighty have fallen.

  • wagon_wheel on December 27, 2010, 17:33 GMT

    @ hattima, well as Siddle pointed out "it's cricket" except that it is not when Aussies are at the losing end.

  • Abhijeth_Manohar on December 27, 2010, 17:06 GMT

    @hattima-Australian cricket politics, somehow they've always got away lighter. Looking at what Ponting did, he should be serving match bans, no doubt about it. As a leader in front of a packed house on a boxing day test match - he acted like an immature adult who just wanted to get his way and nothing else.

    Ponting is an exceptional batsman and one of the greats in Australian cricket.However as a captain and leader he is slipping faster than a first timer in an ice skating rink. He backs his players, and for that credit to him. But sometimes as their leader, keeping the the bigger picture in mind you have to put your foot down and ask your players to cool off and get on with the game. Instead he seems to encourage this sort of behavior from the other Australian players. The English, I suspect have a smile on their faces as they have the Australians right where they want them. They kept up the pressure relentlessly and now have the pleasure of seeing the Australians buckling down under

  • 5wombats on December 27, 2010, 17:03 GMT

    Siddle is pathetic, like the rest of this rabble of an Australia team. He is an unusually poor bowler who wouldn't get into an England second 11. By his reactions on taking the catches off Collingwood and Bell - anyone would think he had won the Ashes single-handed. Getting involved in the Pietersen caught behind buisness, complete with finger wagging, ought to cost him a citation and fine. If he had any ability it would be a compensation - but, like the rest of his "team", he has nothing.

  • on December 27, 2010, 17:02 GMT

    If I would have been in Aleem Dar's position I would have given a RED card as in football.Just imagine what would have happened if there was no DRS in force.When Ponting opted for DRS,he should stand by it.Poor Ponting,he can't score,he is hurt(body and mind) so he is taking it on umpires.Even his greatest supporter Mr.Ian Chappel has condemned him for the bad behavior.May be Ponting should take a break and comeback or retire gracefully.But we will be missing a great competitor.

  • on December 27, 2010, 16:55 GMT

    Desperate Ponting and Siddle were left off with only 40 % fine, it is hugely unjustified penalty. ICC use to be partial all the time,Ponting deserves much more penalty and punishment, the favour shown by ICC should not be tolerated any more.Law and justice use to be equal for all, ICC should must understand it .

  • hattima on December 27, 2010, 15:33 GMT

    I wonder how could what Ponting have done be a level 1 offence, and how can he escape with a small fine, when half of the Indian team were fined/ suspended for excessive appealing. There should be a consistency somewhere in the process of deciding penalties like there is in every other game.

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  • hattima on December 27, 2010, 15:33 GMT

    I wonder how could what Ponting have done be a level 1 offence, and how can he escape with a small fine, when half of the Indian team were fined/ suspended for excessive appealing. There should be a consistency somewhere in the process of deciding penalties like there is in every other game.

  • on December 27, 2010, 16:55 GMT

    Desperate Ponting and Siddle were left off with only 40 % fine, it is hugely unjustified penalty. ICC use to be partial all the time,Ponting deserves much more penalty and punishment, the favour shown by ICC should not be tolerated any more.Law and justice use to be equal for all, ICC should must understand it .

  • on December 27, 2010, 17:02 GMT

    If I would have been in Aleem Dar's position I would have given a RED card as in football.Just imagine what would have happened if there was no DRS in force.When Ponting opted for DRS,he should stand by it.Poor Ponting,he can't score,he is hurt(body and mind) so he is taking it on umpires.Even his greatest supporter Mr.Ian Chappel has condemned him for the bad behavior.May be Ponting should take a break and comeback or retire gracefully.But we will be missing a great competitor.

  • 5wombats on December 27, 2010, 17:03 GMT

    Siddle is pathetic, like the rest of this rabble of an Australia team. He is an unusually poor bowler who wouldn't get into an England second 11. By his reactions on taking the catches off Collingwood and Bell - anyone would think he had won the Ashes single-handed. Getting involved in the Pietersen caught behind buisness, complete with finger wagging, ought to cost him a citation and fine. If he had any ability it would be a compensation - but, like the rest of his "team", he has nothing.

  • Abhijeth_Manohar on December 27, 2010, 17:06 GMT

    @hattima-Australian cricket politics, somehow they've always got away lighter. Looking at what Ponting did, he should be serving match bans, no doubt about it. As a leader in front of a packed house on a boxing day test match - he acted like an immature adult who just wanted to get his way and nothing else.

    Ponting is an exceptional batsman and one of the greats in Australian cricket.However as a captain and leader he is slipping faster than a first timer in an ice skating rink. He backs his players, and for that credit to him. But sometimes as their leader, keeping the the bigger picture in mind you have to put your foot down and ask your players to cool off and get on with the game. Instead he seems to encourage this sort of behavior from the other Australian players. The English, I suspect have a smile on their faces as they have the Australians right where they want them. They kept up the pressure relentlessly and now have the pleasure of seeing the Australians buckling down under

  • wagon_wheel on December 27, 2010, 17:33 GMT

    @ hattima, well as Siddle pointed out "it's cricket" except that it is not when Aussies are at the losing end.

  • braindead_rocker on December 27, 2010, 17:52 GMT

    Typical of an Australian bowler these days. The aggression is shown in their actions more than their bowling. The old bunch of Gilliespie and McGrath were angry and hot headed too but at least their quality of bowling justified it.

    Oh how the mighty have fallen.

  • on December 27, 2010, 18:30 GMT

    We asians most of the time dont understand why the umpire report us - in most cases they may not be really understand why they got reported so we never plead guilty either ways so we get fined heavy!!!

  • intcamd on December 27, 2010, 18:59 GMT

    It is one more instance of Australian or English players getting away, where Sub COntinental players get whacked for a much lesser offence. Angry debate, gesticulations, delaying the match - and just a paltry file for a millionnaire cricketer - yeah, painful! We all know of a hundred examples where Indians, Pakistanis got suspended for multiple matches and decked 100% of the match fee for a doing far less.

  • on December 27, 2010, 19:11 GMT

    ponting.....led by example?????? haha............this is wt example he s giving to oz cricket team and fan..........still i rem tht match against india when he gave decision instead of empire.......lol