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Umpiring double whammy for India

india Updated: Feb 26, 2012 23:24 IST
Amol Karhadkar

It was a unique Sunday at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Sachin Tendulkar was making his last appearance at one of his favourite venues; the SCG was hosting its last international before it is renovated for the 2015 World Cup. And Australia's comeback man Shane Watson, due to Michael Clarke's troublesome back, was leading in top-grade cricket for the first time.

Yet, the crucial CB Series tie will be remembered for two controversial umpiring decisions - one in either half - that eventually played a pivotal role in India's humiliating 87-run defeat.

The first came in the 24th over of the Australian innings. Matthew Wade nudged to cover for a single and David Hussey, approaching the danger end, saw Suresh Raina's throw and stuck his hand out. India rightly appealed the moment the ball hit Hussey's hand.

Benefit of doubt

But after a long conversation with third umpire Simon Fry, on-field umpires - Simon Taufel at square leg and Billy Bowden - gave the batsman the benefit of doubt on both the counts - obstructing the field and handling the ball.

India skipper MS Dhoni, who had a heated exchange with Bowden after the decision, was furious. "Plain and simple, that was out," he said. "If you are protecting yourself (by stretching the hand further) that is not good. I was involved in another run out in Pakistan (in 2006) where Inzi bhai (Inzamam-ul-Haq) defended something that was right at his face, and he was given out. In this case, David was really lucky."

And in the seventh over of India chase, Tendulkar's path was blocked by bowler Brett Lee, who ran across on the follow through and stopped. Forced to run around him, Tendulkar was well short as David Warner completed a direct hit. Tendulkar threw up his arms in dismay before trudging off. Dhoni recalled how R Vinay Kumar was prevented from crossing the wicket after bowling, against Australia in Brisbane last week. "It was a bit unfair," Dhoni said. "Sachin had to take those extra yards. "I think Billy (straight umpire) should have said something because he was in a better position to see where exactly the bowler was and where he stopped."

Watson played it safe. On Hussey, he said “the two most trusted umpires” handled the situation well. “Sachin, I think, was more disappointed with Gambhir's call than Brett blocking his way.”