The historic 2-0 Test Win by India over Australia has come under scanner as some of the facts on the field shows that the “Test Match” was fixed. India’s win was pre-confirmed and who else than Ricky Ponting’s decisions on the field raised the doubts. After Media’s reports on the facts, ICC’s (International Cricket Committee) Anti-Corruption will now investigate if at all there was some fixing.
Here are some of the facts that raise the doubt:
India after bundling out Australia for 355 and a good 86 run lead had a good start with 98 for no loss. However, then the famous fall – 116/1 when Vijay was out and soon Dravid, Sehwag, Laxman, Ganguly and Tendular were bowled out without affecting the score much. India was 166/6 with over all lead of 252. This was the score at tea and it seemed Australia were all game to square the series.
However after tea, instead of giving his lead bowlers to dismiss the remaining Indian Batsman, Ricky Ponting gave his less experienced and non bowlers to give India huge opportunity to build a big score. Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Harbhjan singh put a good 108 run stand to snatch way the match from the Aussies. Why would Ricky not use Brett Lee, Mitchell Johnson, Jason Krejza and Shane Watson? Krejza ripped through India’s batting Order in the first test.
With 382 impossible run to chase, any team would batting would try and be on defensive to save the game. But Ricky Ponting move again raise suspicion. When the score was 39/1, Ricky walked in. Ricky hit 2 fours in 4 balls, there by sending signals that they had winning spirit in them. But with 123 test experience behind him, no one will dare take that risk. And further on the 6th ball he faced, he pushed a ball direct to the fielder to take a fatal single. One wouldn’t do that in One-day match also. That gave enough reason to raise doubts about his tactics and game plan.
In the first Innings as well, Ricky Ponting was going good at 24 before attempting a wrong shot, which even a fresher would think twice, especially in Test Matches. He was bowled out by Harbhajan Singh while attempting a cut shot, there by giving Bhajji his 300th wicket.
Media down under reacted strongly on Australia defeat, especially the Nagpur Test. Here are some of experts of what media and prominent cricketing stars/board members had to say:
“I haven’t had a chance to talk to Ricky today about what went on during the tea break and what the messages were that came from the umpires,” Sutherland was quoted as saying by the Australian Associated Press (AAP).
“I’d like to understand the situation, I’m not going to stand here and make comment about a situation without having a full understanding of what actually the circumstances were,” Sutherland added.
The CA chief said he would talk to the International Cricket Council about the slow over-rate issue.
“In a broad sense, I have major concerns about over rates in international cricket. Generally speaking, the public deserves more by way of over rates and that’s certainly something we’ll be taking up with the ICC.”
Sutherland, however, ruled out any sanction against Ponting.
“I don’t think that’s going to happen,” he said.
Ponting also drew flak from the media and former greats for his “selfish” ploy to escape a ban for the first Test against New Zealand.
‘Herald Sun’, a daily, said Ponting should hang his head in shame for thinking of saving himself first.
“Ponting had every reason to hang his head in shame after allowing India to escape the noose in the crunch fourth Test.
“In his most embarrassing moment in his 48th Test as captain in five years in charge, Ponting opted to worry more about improving Australia’s sluggish over-rate than going for broke to try and snare a must-win match when a result was clearly on the line.
“Ponting – amazingly – was more concerned about being suspended for next week’s first Test against cricketing backwater New Zealand at the Gabba.
“What a joke. With wickets desperately needed, Ponting had to roll the dice and unleash chief strike weapons Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee or Shane Watson immediately after tea,” it said.
Former Australia skipper Allan Border, the game’s longest serving captain, said Ponting should have attempted to win the match and not worried about his suspension.
“I don’t know what to make of all this. They go into the tea break on a high and come out worrying about over rates,” Border said.
“They let a golden opportunity slip,” he rued.
In ‘Sydney Morning Herald’, noted cricket writer Peter Roebuck too slammed Ponting for sacrificing the country’s interest for personal gains.
“In one of the most baffling displays of captaincy seen in the long and proud history of Australian cricket, Ricky Ponting has denied his side a deserved chance of securing a famous victory…There was a match to win. To an almost bizarre degree, Ponting lost the plot,” he wrote.
Why did Ricky let his country down with that decision? How would a Test Winning Country go down so badly? What happened during the tea, which made Ricky on the defensive even though match was in his grip? Was slower over rate in his mind? Was penalty the issue? All these questions needs to be investigated and answer. Only time will say what is the fact. As for Ricky Ponting tough time for once a Great Captain!