Sydney : Harbhajan Singh may be known as the Turbanator, but Saturday he became the Ice-Man on a day when more umpiring blunders derailed India’s push for victory.
Already under siege for their woeful performances, umpires Steve Bucknor and Mark Benson endured more fire Saturday after giving Mike Hussey and Andrew Symonds controversial reprieves, the Herald Sun reported.
Unbeaten on 87, Hussey was given a life by Benson on 45 when his thin leg-side edge off Rudra Pratap Singh was ignored, while Symonds, 14 not out, was lucky to survive what would have been Anil Kumble’s hat-trick ball.
Symonds lunged forward as he did not pick Kumble’s wrong ‘un and should have been given out lbw by Bucknor, despite Hawk-Eye suggesting otherwise.
“Hawk-Eye has been on the booze,” former Australian captain Bill Lawry roared.
“That’s as close as you will get for a hat-trick ball.”
At the centre of a sledging storm after being reported for racially abusing Symonds, Harbhajan maintained his focus and reacted in sheer delight when he had batting “bunny” Ponting caught at silly mid-off by V.V.S. Laxman. This sparked a stunning celebration.
Ponting admitted before this match that Harbhajan had his “number”, and that hold is as strong as ever after he fell for the eighth time in as many Tests to the fiery off-spinner.
It was also the fifth time Ponting had fallen to the first ball he had faced from Harbhajan, while it was the third time in four innings this summer the Indian had destroyed his day.
Harbhajan’s unbridled celebration was no doubt in part due to it being Ponting who insisted he be reported by Bucknor and Benson for abusing Symonds.