Had there been harsh punishment for poor umpiring, Bucknor and Benson would receive the death penalty. It was not all over on day four; it continued on day five as well. Dravid and Ganguly were unfairly dismissed. Ponting played the third umpire!
AFTER THE fourth day of the ongoing Sydney test I told one of my friends that the last day of the test match is interestingly poised with Australia having a slight edge. Given the present state of the game, the three possible results (an Aussie victory, a draw and an Indian victory) will depend significantly on umpiring decisions and the weather on the final day. ‘India will go into the final day of the second cricket test with an open mind and the onus would now be on the bowlers to peg back Australia’, said senior batsman Sourav Ganguly
after the close of the penultimate day of the exciting test match. Incidentally umpiring made the difference on the fifth day.
Theres this apocryphal story of BS Chandrashekhar, (the former Indian bowling great) getting frustrated with umpiring during a particular tour (therere many accounts of this tale, with the umpire’s nationality varying from Australian to English to Kiwi). His four or five plumb lbw appeals were turned down. Then he clean-bowled the batsman and appealed "Howzzaaaat?" The umpire was surprised and told him the batsman had been bowled. Chandra apparently queried, "I know hes bowled, but is he out?"
Had there been harsh punishment for poor umpiring in cricket, Steve Bucknor and Mark Benson would have attracted death penalty. They changed the course of the Sydney test by ruling Ponting and Symonds not out when TV replays showed they were indeed out. Symonds got three decisions in his favour and went on to score an unbeaten 162, which virtually took the match away from India. Hussey was not given out caught when hed obviously edged the ball down the leg side.
Poor umpiring continued on the fifth day as well. Steve Bucknor gave Rahul Dravid
caught behind when the ball kissed his pad and the bat was behind his pad. The decision took Dravid by surprise and he went off the field in utter disappointment. At that time India
were cruising along nicely and the dismissal of Dravid opened the floodgates. The dismissal of Sourav Ganguly showed that Aussies are so desperate for a win that they can stoop to any level. Replays clearly showed that it was not a clear catch by Michael Clarke; Sourav waited and umpire Mark Benson, instead of consulting Steve Bucknor or the Third Umpire asked Ponting whether the catch was taken cleanly or not. Not to anyones surprise Ponting said the catch was on and the umpire declared Sourav out.
Now here are a few questions that need to be answered:
Is Ponting the third umpire on the ground? Is Pontings honesty above reproach? If yes, then why did he stay on the pitch after he nicked the ball to MS Dhoni
? When Michael Clarke nicked the ball to the slip fielder, even a kid would have entertained no doubt in his mind. But Clarke had other thoughts on his mind. He hoped to get the umpires backing and did not leave the crease for a while. Even the umpires did not budge. The Indians were in shock and they vociferously pressed for the decision. Finally, the umpires relented and Clarke was given out.
The Australian team has shown that it is a sissy and does not have courage. It cant take any fight from the opposition. It lacks sportsmanship. Sorry to say but this is not the stuff champions are made of. Now the allegation of Symonds against Harbhajan Singh seems to be a move inspired to distract the Indian team and this might well be part of a plan. I extend my full support to Bhajji. But I am also not happy with the decision of the Indian team management not to complain against poor umpiring. Rumour attributes it to Sharad Pawar
eyeing the top ICC seat in 2010.
Australia’s victory in the Sydney test by unfair means and against the spirit of the game will remain a black spot in the annals of history of test cricket? And there should be no doubt about the winner of the "Man of the Match" award. Steve Bucknor and Mark Benson should share it. Bucknor isnt quite done with this series though! Hes scheduled to follow both the teams to Perth.
I can think of two extreme ways to register a protest against poor umpiring:
Dont ever appeal: for anything; not for obvious bowled cases, catches, stumpings, run outs, etc.
Appeal for everything: for bowled cases, skied catches, stumpings / run outs with the batsman halfway down the pitch, etc.