British media slam Aussies over ‘undeserved’ Test win

By Dipankar De Sarkar, IANS

London : Calling the standoff between Australian and Indian teams the biggest crisis to hit the cricketing world in 75 years, British cricket writers Monday slammed the Australian team over the way it played and won the second Test against India.

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Most papers backed Indian manager Chetan Chauhan’s view that Australia would not have won the second Test but for incompetent umpiring.

“The Australians have come out of the second Test not only with a 16th successive victory that they did not deserve but also, as things stand, without the services for the last two Tests of a bowler who keeps getting their captain out,” wrote columnist Christopher Martin-Jenkins in the Times.

A number of papers drew a parallel with the infamous 1932-33 bodyline series when Australians objected to the tactics used by English fast bowlers to contain Australian batsman Don Bradman.

“The BCCI move is the latest development in a contest which is threatening to rival the infamous ‘Bodyline’ series for the bitterness between hosts and tourists,” the Guardian reported.

The Daily Telegraph said the Indian board’s reaction to Harbhajan Singh’s three-match ban on racism charges “even includes the same national-pride rhetoric that came out of Australia in 1932-33 when [English fast bowler] Douglas Jardine went to work on leg theory.”

Award-winning columnist Simon Barnes, referring to the Singh-Symonds row, wrote in the Times, “No doubt it was all very reprehensible, but I don’t find it easy to pity an Australian for being sledged. Sledging, as we understand the term, is an Australian invention.”

“They say that this went over the line; I think that the line is crossed as soon as any sledging begins,” he added.

Martin-Jenkins pointed out that Sachin Tendulkar, “probably the most respected cricketer in the world”, had denied that the Indian spinner used the word “monkey” in his exchange with Symonds.

The Times’ report from Sydney said: “Apart from some dreadful umpiring in this match, without which Australia would not have won, aspects of their onfield demeanour left a sour taste.”

“Indian frustration was reflected in an unseemly exchange at the post-match press conference between Ponting and the Indian media, who later complained that they had been ‘humiliated’ by him,” the report added.

The strongest words came from former English Test cricketer Peter Roebuck, who wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald: “India have been dudded. No one with the slightest enthusiasm for cricket will take the least satisfaction from the victory secured by the local team in an SCG Test that entertained spectators, provided some excellent batting but left a sour taste.”

“It was a match that will have been relished only by rabid nationalists and others for whom victory and vengeance are the sole reasons for playing sport,”he added.