Australian team members celebrate after the final Indian wicket fell yesterday.(1/2) (2/2)
SYDNEY – Indian captain Anil Kumble accused Australia of not playing in the “spirit of the game” last night after Ricky Ponting’s side pulled off a miraculous win in the second Test with only minutes to spare. In a tense match plagued by poor umpiring decisions against the touring team, India was set 333 to win from 72 overs at the SCG and was bowled out for 210 from 70.5 overs at 6.35pm, eight minutes before the scheduled end of play.
Man-of-the-match Andrew Symonds took 3-51 for Australia with his off-spinners, but it was his first-innings 162 not out, despite admitting later he should have been given out caught behind on 30, which upset the Indians.
Another among several contentious decisions was Rahul Dravid’s dismissal caught behind for 38 off Symonds’ bowling yesterday at 4-115, despite no apparent edge and a loud appeal from the Australians.
The tourists were also upset by Australian batsmen standing their ground after getting caught in slips and waiting for the umpire to give them out.
“Only one team was playing in the spirit of the game,” a fuming Kumble said, evoking memories of the similar comment by Australian batsman Bill Woodfull in the 1932-33 Bodyline series against England.
Adding to the tension between the two teams, Symonds was to appear last night at a hearing with ICC match referee Mike Procter after Australian captain Ricky Ponting accused Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh of racially abusing the Queenslander during the match.
After scoring just one run in the match, left-arm spinner Michael Clarke earned the nickname “Golden Bollocks” from his captain by taking 3-5 off 1.5 overs.
Fast bowler Stuart Clark struck a double blow for Australia after lunch to dismiss first- innings century-makers VVS Laxman lbw for 20 and Sachin Tendulkar bowled for 12.
India’s Sourav Ganguly (51) stood his ground as Australia celebrated a low catch by Clarke at second slip off Brett Lee’s bowling. Mark Benson finally put his finger up so Ganguly slowly walked off, appearing to give the English umpire some advice on the way off at 6-137.
Dhoni (35) held on for two hours but fell lbw to Symonds.
Clarke claimed three wickets in five balls in the 71st of the scheduled 72 overs to clinch the victory, with Harbhajan (7) caught at slip by Mike Hussey and RP Singh lbw (0) before Ishant Sharma was caught at slip by a jubilant Hussey.
“For us to be able to do it after a 70-run (69-run) deficit in the first innings … makes this win as good as any that I’ve played in,” Ponting said.
“That’s as good a feeling as I’ve ever had I think on a cricket field.
“Winning a Test like that, coming down to the last eight or 10 minutes on the fifth day, any Test you win there is going to be pretty special.”
Ponting said he had no idea if the umpires, West Indian Steve Bucknor and England’s Mark Benson, were losing confidence during the match.
India later announced it was seeking the pair’s removal for the final two Tests in Perth and Adelaide.
“Sure they made a few mistakes but that’s the game of cricket,” Ponting said.
“I’d like to think … we can probably look at how great a game this was rather than just focusing on a few little areas like that one and the one (racism) that was mentioned earlier.”
Hussey hit an unbeaten 145, his third century in four home Tests this summer, before Australia declared at 7-401 shortly before lunch yesterday.
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