All praise for India, but streaker hogs limelight

March 5th, 2008 - 10:09 am ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Harbhajan Singh
By Neena Bhandari
Sydney, March 5 (IANS) As the controversial summer of cricket ended on high octave, India’s retributive victory in the Commonwealth Bank series was relegated to the sports pages while Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds’ hit on the streaker hogged newspaper front pages here. Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh’s triumphant photo was splashed on the back page of the Sydney Morning Herald’s sports section with a complementing caption: “He came, he saw, he irritated, he conquered” whereas different shots of the streaker and “Andrew Symonds hits a streaker for six” made it to the front page.

Symonds was batting in Sunday’s second one-day series final against India at the Gabba in Brisbane when the streaker ran on to the ground and passed close to the Australian all-rounder. Symonds used his shoulder to knock the naked man off his feet as he ran past him.

The Daily Telegraph’s blog editor Garth Montgomery wrote: “There has rarely been a cricketer the size and shape of a rugby league second rower who takes it upon himself to drill a hapless civilian. The Indians are on to something with their Symonds obsession. The land of gurus and enlightenment know that we have a cricketer so Neanderthal that he should sleep in a cage.”

The Daily Telegraph said: “Harby has last laugh… Symonds bumped a streaker but it was Harbhajan Singh with the knockout blow as Australia fell to a finals wipeout to arch rivals India.”

In Queensland’s Courier Mail, Robert Craddock wrote: “Drought looms on Australia’s reign at top of cricket…India’s stunning tri-series victory has proved the day is arriving when Australia will no longer be the best team in the world. The gap between Australia and the rest has closed to the point where the national selectors must be getting sweaty palms.”

Ben Dorries, writing in the Courier Mail, said: “Singh takes vital Symonds wicket as India wins final…As cricket became a contact sport, Australia was pitch-forked out of the finals in straight sets 2-0 by an Indian side which had the last laugh after a bitter summer of explosive tensions.”

“Summer of spite ends in Indian glory,” said The Australian. Malcolm Conn wrote: “Australia may have got physical last night, with Michael Clarke tackling Sachin Tendulkar and Andrew Symonds flattening a streaker, but India held its nerve to win the tri-series finals in successive matches.”

Australian Broadcasting Corporation Online Wednesday said Andrew Symonds could be sanctioned by Cricket Australia (CA) for knocking down the streaker.

There was much praise for the Little Master’s feat. Peter Roebuck in his column in the Fairfax newspapers wrote: “Tendulkar inspires new world order with immaculate innings… A match jam-packed with desperate action has brought a pulsating summer to an appropriately dramatic conclusion.

“Apart from the frenzied finish and the curious outbreak of tackles on the field, the abiding memory of the match came from Tendulkar’s bat.”

Of Tendulkar and Shane Warne, Roebuck wrote: “They count among the most enchanting and compelling cricketers the game has seen. Both were craftsmen of high calibre but also artists of supreme talent…The Indian remains a classical batsman unburdened with ego and capable of exquisite strokeplay.”

“Never awaken the sleeping tiger…Tendulkar looked comfortable from the first ball. At such times his bat appears as wide as the Suez Canal…Spectators find in it the same satisfaction as a mathematician does in a formula,” wrote Roebuck on Tendulkar’s first ODI century in Australia.

Of his stroke play, Roebuck wrote: “Either he stuns the ball towards gully and scampers or he steers the ball behind point with a stroke reminiscent of a monarch knighting a favoured admiral.”

As Indians got set to return home with their heads held high, Roebuck wrote: “Throughout a contentious trip these tourists played with tenacity and audacity. It has been a colossal struggle between an ageing champion and a bold challenger.”

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