Ponting admits umpires marred Sydney Test

Ricky Ponting admitted umpiring blunders marred the second Test against India but hoped the match would be remembered for all the right reasons.

updated: January 08, 2008 13:24 IST
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Australian captain Ricky Ponting admitted that some dubious umpiring decisions did take place during the second Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) here, but he refrained from making any further comment after his team beat India by 122 runs with barely an over or two to go in the match.

"Fair enough to say, there were some mistakes committed by the umpires, but I am not going to comment on that. What we can do is to play good cricket and we will stick to that," said an ecstatic Ponting, who Sunday equalled former captain Steve Waugh's 16 consecutive Test wins record.

The dramatic second Test match was marred by a numerous umpiring blunders from veteran West Indian Steve Bucknor and England's Mark Benson. To boot there were also charges of racial abuse against Harbhajan Singh.

Ponting also revealed, "At the start of the series me and Anil had come to a joint agreement that third umpire referrals in case of controversial catches would be settled on the field by the captain's verdict."

"So after Pup took (Sourav) Ganguly's catch I asked him (Michael Clarke) whether it was clean or not and he nodded positively. Then when umpire Benson asked me, I gave him my verdict by raising the finger."

The flood of mistakes continued on fifth day, as both Dravid and Sourav Ganguly became victims of poor umpiring decisions. At the same time, Mike Hussey, who became Australia's second centurion in the second innings, benefited by another decision, leaving Indians frustrated in the Test.

Dravid had not played the ball when he was adjudged caught out.

A little later Ganguly stood his ground after Clarke took a low catch the third slip off Lee. Umpire Benson instead of consulting square leg umpire Bucknor, consulted the Australian captain before giving Ganguly out, giving rise to another controversy.

TV replays, however, showed that Clarke had not completed the catch and as he rolled over and got up the ball was clearly touching the turf.

Towards the end, when Kumble and Harbhajan Singh looked like taking India to a fighting Ponting effected an inspired bowling change bringing in local lad Clarke in the 14th mandatory over.

Clarke turned out to be the man with the 'golden touch'. He dismissed Harbhajan Singh (7) and Rudra Pratap Singh (0) off the first two deliveries. Ishant Sharma, the last man, survived the hat-trick ball and then edged a catch into Hussey's hands at first slip to help Australia equal their world record of 16th consecutive Test win, previously achieved by Steve Waugh's team.

"I was never thinking about the 16th win, I was more focussed on winning this match," the Australia captain said.

Asked what prompted him to give the ball to Clarke, Ponting said: "When the strike bowlers were unable to gave us breakthroughs, I just threw the ball to Pup (Michael Clarke) as he has a golden touch."

Clarke said that it would be a memorable match for him for his last minute heroics and was happy that he grabbed the opportunities that came his way.

"Honestly, when Punter (Ponting) gave me the ball. I didn't expect to wrap up the innings. Moreover, till now it was an unforgettable match for me, as I made no runs, dropped catches but the three wickets in that over turned everything," said Clarke.

Both Ponting and Clarke were also involved in a controversial situation, which saw umpire Mark Benson handing out an erroneous judgement to Sourav Ganguly.