Controversial Matches in Cricket

Controversies are part and parcels of sports. Most controversies will are evolved as a result of Fixing claims, doping or using some abusive languages against the opposition players. Cricket, even being called as the gentlemen’s game has had some numerous controversies (both my teams and individual players) in the past be. Here are the list of top 5 controversial matches in cricket.

England vs Pakistan, The Oval

On the fourth day of the fourth test match between England and Pakistan, Pakistan were caught for ball tampering just before tea and as a result of that, England were awarded 5 points as penalty. The Pakistanis, refused to come out and take the field after the tea as they were protesting against their penalty. The umpires left the field and returned back after 15 minutes and after waiting for few more minutes, the umpires Daryl Hair and Billy Doctrove removed the bails and gave the match in favour of England on the virtue of forfeiture by Pakistan. The Pakistanis returned half an hour later and were ready for the resumption and even England was willing for the match to resume but the umpires stood by their decision and awarded the match to England. Later umpire Hair was banned by the umpire.  

South Africa vs Sri Lanka, Durban

The group stage match in the 2003 World Cup between South Africa and Sri Lanka is remembered for the miscalculation of the Duckworth-Lewis method by the South African coach Late Bob Woolmer. Sri Lanka scored 268-9 in 50overs courtesy a ton from Marvan Attapattu. As South Africa were cruising for a victory, rain was falling steadily and the match was going towards an end with D/L method. In the 45th over, the rain was falling down fiercely and only a win will take South Africa to the next round. They needed 230 to win and the team management miscalculated as 229 for victory. As per their calculation, 6 were needed for the last two balls of the over and Mark Boucher smashed a six of the penultimate ball and simply saw-off the final ball. Once the match got over, the scoreboard read the scores were tied and South Africa needed a run more for victory and it saw them crashing out of the world cup.

Australia vs India, Sydney

The Sydney Test of 2008 is well known for all bad reasons. Ever since the first day, umpires Steve Bucknor and Mark Benson were having a nightmare on the field. First, they rejected an appeal of Ricky Ponting caught behind off Sourav Ganguly followed by a clear stumping of Andrew Symonds which wasn’t even referred to the third umpire. Symonds was once again let-off, this time for a caught behind off Ishant Sharma and he even admitted in the press conference that he nicked the ball. Then came the disaster on the fifth day of the Test. Chasing 333 to win in the final day, India were clearly playing for a draw. Rahul Dravid who stood as defensive as a rock, came forward to defend a ball from Andrew Symonds.

The ball went past the bat and was cleanly collected by Adam Gilchrist who appealed for a dismissal. To the nightmare of the Indians, umpire Steve Bucknor raised his hands and sent Dravid back to the pavilion as the replay’s suggested that there was no impact between the bat and the ball. Once again, umpires came into the limelight when Micheal Clarke caught Sourav Ganguly down to his left at third slip. The Australians started celebrating as Ganguly stood his ground. Umpires instead of going upstairs enquired the Aussies whether the catch was clean or not. Ricky Ponting claimed it to be clean and Ganguly was given out as India went on to lose the match in the last few balls of the test.  

In the same match, Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds were involved in a Monkey-Gate scandal after wich Harbhajan was accused of calling Symonds as monkey and was faced by the ICC for the following match. 

India vs Sri Lanka, Calcutta

The 1996 World Semi-Finals between India and Sri Lanka is marred by several controversies. Chasing a target of 251, India were cruising through at 98-1 before disaster struck. Sanath Jayasuriya has Sachin Tendulkar stumped by Romesh Kaluwitharana and since then, the ball began to spin a mile. India failed to handle Lanka’s spin trio of Kumar Dharmasena, Muttiah Muralitharan and Jayasuriya. All of a sudden, India were collapsed from 98-1 to 120-8 in just 11 overs. The fans at Eden Gardens started rioting from the stands as the players walked away to the pavilion. The match was called off and Sri Lanka was declared the winner. Post the match, Vinod Kambli who was seen crying when the players went to the pavilion claimed that the match was fixed which was denied by the other players.

England vs Pakistan, Lords

England’s 225 run victory over Pakistan in the Second test Lords was overshadowed by the claims of spot-fixing which involved the Pakistani skipper Salman Butt, Mohammed Aamer, Mohammed Asif, Kamran Akmal and Umar Akmal. In the investigation by the ICC, the Akmal brothers were not found guilty and the other three were found guilty of having contacts with a bookie Mazhar Majid and were banned by the ICC. It was later revealed that Salman Butt ordered Aamer to bowl no-balls deliberately and the trio were banned by ICC. Butt faces a ban of 10 years, followed by Asif and Aamer with 7 years and 5 years respectively.