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Kumble accuses Oz of bad sportsmanship

The India captain launches an attack on Australian cricketers, accusing them of breaching the game's spirit.
Reuters | By Julian Linden, Sydney
UPDATED ON JAN 07, 2008 03:03 AM IST

India captain Anil Kumble launched an astonishing attack on Australia's cricketers after his team were beaten in the second Test on Sunday, accusing them of breaching the spirit of the game.

Kumble was unable to contain his fury after his team were beaten by 122 runs in a thrilling and controversial end to one of the most absorbing matches ever seen at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Asked by Indian journalists about Australia's tactics, Kumble echoed something similar to the immortal line used by the Australian captain Bill Woodfull during the 1932-33 Bodyline series against England.

"Only one team was playing with the spirit of the game," Kumble said.

He also said he was prevented from elaborating on his specific complaints about the Australian players but indicated he was upset at the refusal of their batsmen to walk when they were clearly out.

The Indians were on the wrong end of a number of bad umpiring decisions throughout the course of the match but the most crucial occurred on the first day when Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds was given not out by West Indian umpire Steve Bucknor.

Symonds, who later admitted he had nicked the ball and should have been sent packing, was on 30 at the time but went on to make 162 not out and help Australia recover from a batting slump to make 463.

"We like to play hard on the field and we expect that from Australia as well," Kumble said.

"I've played my cricket very sincerely and very honestly and that's the approach my team takes on the field and I expect that from the Australians as well."

Kumble also bristled when asked about some of Australia's appeals after Rahul Dravid was controversially given out, caught behind on the last day when he had failed to make contact with the ball.

"We had decided that we will be honest and when a catch is taken the player says he's taken it, the captain nods his head and the umpire gives him out," Kumble said.

Strained relations

Relations between the teams were already strained after Ponting lodged a complaint about Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh for allegedly making a racist comment to Symonds, but the Australian skipper denied there was any lingering bad blood between the sides.

"(I have) Absolutely no doubt about this match being played in the right spirit," Ponting said.

Kumble did admit his team had batted poorly on the last day, collapsing to be all out for 210 when they needed to bat through the day to salvage a draw.

However, he insisted his team still did not deserve to lose. "The fair result would have been a draw," he said. "It's tough when you've played all forms of cricket over the last 25 years and end up on the losing side like this."

He added: "We could have probably showed a bit more fight and we could have saved the game."

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