Brendon McCullum last night sidestepped the issue of Australia's treatment of dismissed batsmen while Australia's captain, Michael Clarke, said none of his players overstepped the mark.

Three New Zealand batsmen, Martin Guptill, Grant Elliott and Dan Vettori, were all given an earful by Australian players, including wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, after being dismissed.

Elliott, in particular, had several exchanges with Haddin during his innings of 83 which kept New Zealand afloat in a disappointing 183.

Aussie victory: The 'empire' struck back - and then some
McCullum: Hell of a ride, and we've no regrets
The six balls that decided the final


McCullum refused to criticise the Australians, but at the same time, making clear it wasn't New Zealand's way these days. "It wasn't really discussed within the group," he said.

"A send off is a send off. It's not something we are necessarily concerned about. The focus should be on how well Australia played and how much they deserved this victory, rather than minor issues on the way through. I certainly don't want to go too deep into that."

Clarke said of the incidents: "I can't remember a player getting a send-off. Maybe I was too far from the action. Obviously it's a World Cup final. There's passion, there's excitement, there's adrenalin running through the guys' bodies.

"You cop as good as you give. I know this team has copped a fair bit of stick throughout this World Cup. The boys have got long memories. Maybe there was something there [from Australia's loss at Eden Park]; I'm not too sure. I don't think there was anything that was below the belt."

Nevertheless at a time when the International Cricket Council has been assertive in its attitude to overt confrontational behaviour, and threatening to clamp down hard on offenders, Australia, on a couple of occasions, pushed the envelope last night.

Did it affect the outcome? No, and McCullum was keen not to rouse that particular sleeping dog.

Images widely tweeted captured the difference between two flashpoints - the first, from last Tuesday, when Elliott extended a helping hand to South Africa's Dale Steyn after New Zealand's dramatic win at Eden Park, and the second from last night.

True sportsman: Elliott helps South Africa's Dale Steyn after South Africa lost to the Black Caps in the semi-final. Photo / AP
True sportsman: Elliott helps South Africa's Dale Steyn after South Africa lost to the Black Caps in the semi-final. Photo / AP

The incident was bad enough to prompt television commentator and former England captain Nasser Hussain to assert that Elliott, the New Zealand top-scorer, was subject to sledging throughout his innings.


"You Aussies just don't let up do you?" he said. "You got em out, is that not enough?"

Soon after, hundreds of tweets comparing Elliott's sportsmanship with the Australians' perceived lack of it began to flood the social networking site.

One, by a user with the handle @LeftArmAround was mentioned hundreds of times.

Former New Zealand test opener Mark Richardson, co-host of sports show the Crowd Goes Wild, was also unimpressed.

"Send offs to Vettori and Elliott. Real brave, real classy," he wrote on Twitter.

Other tweets included: "Sportsmanship has never been their strong point. Sledging is such a disappointment." wrote @iamamyhenry.

Fans also noticed that, in contrast, when Australian captain Michael Clarke was dismissed, the New Zealanders were keen to rush and congratulate him in recognition of his retirement from the ODI game.

Skipper Brendon McCullum ran across the field to shake Clarke's hand after he was bowled out for 74 runs.

The incident follows a vow from International Cricket Council chief executive David Richardson last month that there would be a crackdown on sledging and poor on-field behaviour.

Aussie sledging: The reaction