Cricket: Australia media see red over Mitchell Marsh controversy

Australian batsman Mitchell Marsh departs in anger after being given out during play in the third ODI between New Zealand and Australia. Photo / Getty Images
Australian batsman Mitchell Marsh departs in anger after being given out during play in the third ODI between New Zealand and Australia. Photo / Getty Images

Australian media have wasted no time in taking the long handle to the Black Caps following the Mitchell Marsh controversy, claiming their stance is at odds with their "status as the modern day torchbearers for sportsmanship'.

The underarm incident may be 35 years old now but Australian fans who have remained sheepish over the celebrated incident were quickly out of the shadows last night and were well supported by their scribes as they vehemently questioned New Zealand's role in the Marsh dismissal which ultimately derailed the tourists' run chase in Hamilton last night and helped the Black Caps seal a 2-1 victory in the Chapple-Hadlee series.

The Sydney Morning Herald claimed the incident uncorked the "simmering tension" that has existed between the two trans-Tasman rivals since last year's World Cup tournament and "sewed the seeds for a fiery test battle".

Cricket writer Andrew Wu wrote that Brendon McCullum's ODI swansong will long be remembered for Marsh's bizarre dismissal before adding that New Zealand's actions "will further raise doubt in the Australian dressing room over the Black Caps' status as the modern day torchbearers for sportsmanship".

Wu said the Australian team has long been "unhappy at how McCullum's Black Caps have been perceived as cleanskins and Monday night's events will not change a thing".

"The local fireworks marking Chinese New Year provided an apt backdrop for the drama," Wu wrote. "Players from both sides exchanged heated words after Marsh was bizarrely given out caught and bowled by Matt Henry in Australia's run chase.

"Steve Smith later conceded the right decision was made ultimately, but there are doubts as to whether the right protocol was followed by umpires."

Marsh was initially ruled not out but with Henry at the top of his mark to bowl the next ball umpire Ian Gould referred the decision to the video umpire after the replay appeared on the big screen. Replays appeared to show Marsh hit the ball onto his boot, and the deflection safely taken by Henry, who appealed half-heartedly.

Wu wrote that whether the decision should have been referred upstairs after a replay was shown was the major talking point, noting that a "consolatory tap from McCullum as Marsh left the field failed to satisfy the batsman, who yelled "f****** bullshit" as he left the ground. There was also a heated exchange between Matthew Wade and Grant Elliott."

Sydney's Daily Telegraph was less strident in its condemnation of the handling of the incident but wrote Marsh was entitled to be angry over the manner of his dismissal.

"There was chaos all round as debate raged about whether the New Zealanders actually appealed, whether they challenged the not-out decision after seeing the replay or whether umpire Ian Gould himself asked the third umpire to intervene when he noticed what happened," wrote the media outlet.

"It was shown that Marsh inside edged the ball onto his shoe before it ballooned back to Henry and he was given out for 41, though the 24-year-old was visibly furious at how such a decision could have been reached when he didn't believe anyone had appealed. That wicket included, the Aussies lost 5-27 and surrendered any hope of clinching the series.

Marsh's departure, for 41 off 42 balls, came at a pivotal moment in the game as he was shaping to again be Australia's saviour.

- NZ Herald

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