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Jan 06, 2008 at 07:33pm IST

The captains say it: umpires unfair | India vs Bucknor

Sydney: Indian captain Anil Kumble on Sunday refused to speak on decisions made by umpires Mark Benson and Steve Bucknor in the Sydney Test but made his view clear when he said: “(the umpiring) was there for everyone to see”/

"It's there for everyone to see, I am not going to comment on it," Kumble said after reporters asked him what he thought was the difference between the Indian and Australian teams.

"(The umpiring) was there for everyone to see but it was important for us to keep those things out of our mind. We lost a little bit of focus. I think we should have batted the last two sessions," he said at the Sydney Cricket ground after losing to Australia by 122 runs.

"We played fantastic cricket from day one after the loss in Melbourne. We even took a lead in the first innings but unfortunately could not save the match. Even today a couple of things did not go our way."

Kumble said he could understand the umpires getting it wrong on a few occasions but their consistent errors probably cost India a chance to go 1-1 with Australia ahead of the third Test in Perth.

"We understand that things happen in a match and you have to get on with it but there were too many things happening in this one. And it's difficult to keep your focus in the face of all this. But we tried hard…played brilliantly.

"You don't want to lose a match after being in the position that we were in. We dominated the first innings but unfortunately could not convert into the right result"

Kumble rejected fears that the defeat and the poor umpiring would demoralise his team. "I know the spirit is good in the team but obviously a draw would have lifted us. But still we are confident of doing well in Perth. we have 10 days to go before that match and assess our performance. We also have a practice game coming up so we are looking forward to that," he said.

Ponting points at umpires too

Australia skipper Ricky Ponting also admitted that poor umpiring marred the Sydney Test but hoped the match would be remembered for all the right reasons.

Next Page: 5 umpiring gaffes


"I think it's fair to say that there were a few mistakes made but I am not going comment anything more as it might get me in trouble," said Ponting.

Ponting himself was at the centre of a controversial dismissal when Benson sought the Australian speaker’s word on whether Sourav Ganguly's catch had carried to Michael Clarke at slips before ruling the batsman out.

"The umpire looked at me and asked whether that was out. I checked with Michael, who said it was absolutely clean and I gestured that to the umpire," he said.

Clarke apparently took the ball off the ground and the dismissal raised eyebrows as Benson turned to fielders, instead of checking with Bucknor at square leg or the third umpire.

Ponting said the dismissal was fair, saying: "Before the series started, me and Anil (Kumble) had a meeting with the match referee where we agreed to go with the fielder's word on close catches and that is exactly what happened in this case. If you remember, I had decided not to claim a catch earlier in the match when I wasn't sure about it being clean."

  • On the first day, a Sourav Ganguly delivery appeared to have taken some wood of Ricky Ponting's bat on its way to MS Dhoni down the leg side. The Australian captain was given out when he had edged it on to his pads.
  • More followed when a caught behind shout off Andrew Symonds went unheard, and was rounded off with another one - this time via the third umpire - who dismissed another stumping call. The burly all-rounder replied emphatically with his second Test hundred.
  • Umpiring errors continued into the second day when umpire Steve Bucknor didn't refer to the third umpire on a stumping call against Symonds as following replays showed his foot wasn't grounded inside the crease.
  • On the fifth day, Rahul Dravid was undone by a decision from Bucknor, following a caught behind appeal by Andrew Symonds. Dravid, not one to reveal his emotions on the field, reacted angrily and replays confirmed why. The bat was way behind the pad but was adjudged to have edged the ball.
  • Sourav Ganguly edged the ball to slip fielder Michael Clarke who claimed a dubious catch, umpire Mark Benson thought it apt to ask captain Ricky Ponting who confirmed he did take it even as Ganguly refused to leave the field. Replays confirmed Clarke had grounded the catch.