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Cricket Australia backs Ponting, says that's our style

Reuters
Jan 08, 2008 at 12:44pm IST

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Melbourne: Australia's hard-nosed approach to cricket, which was questioned by India captain Anil Kumble after an enthralling second test ended on Sunday, has received the full support of Cricket Australia.

After his side had lost by 122 runs, Kumble said that "only one side was playing with the spirit of the game" after several incidents during the test, which were headlined by India's Harbhajan Singh being banned for three tests after he was found guilty of racially abusing Andrew Symonds.

Harbhajan was cited by match referee Mike Procter after Australia captain Ricky Ponting complained to on-field umpires Steve Bucknor and Mark Benson the off-spinner had called Symonds a "monkey".

HARD-NOSED: Cricket Australia says the team under Ricky Ponting is playing the way Australia play cricket.

Ponting also signalled to umpires they should dismiss Saurav Ganguly after Michael Clarke had taken a low catch, while the Indian team were also reportedly annoyed at Clarke and Symonds standing their ground when they had clearly edged deliveries.

Symonds was given not out while on 30 and went on to score an unbeaten 161 in the match's first innings, which changed the nature of the game.

Australia also have a well-publicised history of "sledging" or verbally abusing their opponents to put them off their game, however Cricket Australia (CA) said on Monday they always played within the laws and the spirit of the sport. "It has always been the Australian way to play the game hard but fair," CA chief executive James Sutherland told reporters.

"Tough and uncompromising is certainly the way all Australian teams have played. It does not matter who is the captain," he said.

"This team under Ricky Ponting is no exception... (and) Cricket Australia supports the Australian team in its endeavours to play the game as best as they possibly can."

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