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Australia win the battle, but lose the war

January 29, 2008

So the most acrimonious Test series Down Under since the ugly days of the Bodyline battle between Douglas Jardine's England team and Bill Woodfull's Australian side in 1932-33 has finally come to an end.

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    The record book will always say that Australia won the four-Test series 2-1. But nothing could be farther from the fact. Even a lay cricket enthusiast knows how and in what manner the hosts played against India throughout the series.

    In sport, particularly cricket, statistics can hardly tell the truth. And the truth is the Aussies cannot claim to have defeated the Indians in the rubber.

    They would not have won the second Test in Sydney but for a string of glaring, unpardonable errors by field umpires Steve Bucknor and Mark Benson.

    Most of the contentious decisions in Sydney were handed down against the Indian batsmen and bowlers who were clearly on top of the Australians for a major part of the Test.

    Doubtless Messrs Bucknor and Benson were blatantly biased against the Indians for some mysterious reasons. The men in white coats appeared to be all but neutral.

    The Aussies, hell-bent on winning and going 2-0 up in the series, were certainly not playing the game. Whether it was the Australian captain Ricky Ponting or his deputy Adam Gilchrist, no one was bothered about the fair play.

    As a bitter Anil Kumble rightly said, a la Woodfull, only one team was playing cricket, and that also in the right spirit, in Sydney. And it was surely not Australia.

    Photograph: Getty Images | Text: Haresh Pandya

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