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Boos, bulls*** and f***ing cowardice: Trans-Tasman rivalry turns nasty

Cricket

Steve Smith was drowned out by boos and Matthew Wade labelled Grant Elliott a “f***ing coward” as cricket’s friendly rivalry became hostile in Hamilton last night.

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New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum’s one-day career ended amid controversy, with Mitch Marsh’s contentious dismissal the turning point and talking point of New Zealand’s 55-run win, claiming a 2-1 ODI series win over Australia.

However, Wade’s run-in with NZ allrounder Elliott was the most heated moment of the match.

The Australian keeper seemingly took exception to something Elliott said as Marsh was marching off Seddon Park.

“Only a f***ing coward sledges people when they walk off,” Wade quipped, with stump microphones picking up the remark.

Elliott responded “Wadey, love your work buddy” before umpire Ian Gould restored order.

Elliott was one of the Black Caps’ batsmen who received a verbal sendoff in last year’s World Cup final against Australia.

Wade was out for 17 as the visitors crumbled after Marsh was controversially caught and bowled on 41.

NZ retained the Chappell-Hadlee trophy by successfully defending their modest total of 246, but tempers frayed in the 34th over of Australia’s chase, when Mitch Marsh was given out caught and bowled by third umpire S Ravi.

“F***ing bull***,” Marsh appeared to tell McCullum and the celebrating Black Caps as he stormed off.

Umpire Ian Gould belatedly referred a half-shout after a replay was shown on the big screen at Seddon Park, prompting McCullum to rush over.

Matt Henry had tentatively appealed after the ball ricocheted off Marsh’s boot and back to the paceman.

Henry was almost back to his mark when footage went up at the venue.

“A bit of controversy there. I don’t think there was much of an appeal,” Smith said in the post-match ceremony, triggering loud boos from a sold-out crowd of 9751.

Skipper Smith, coach Michael Di Venuto and team manager Gavin Dovey then had a lengthy chat with match referee Chris Broad.

“Neither of the umpires heard an appeal so the game went on,” Smith said of Broad’s explanation.

“Well it was supposed to go on… it was shown on the big screen that there was a half-appeal so they went upstairs.

“I was pretty disappointed with the whole process… it was handled pretty poorly.

“New Zealand players genuinely believed it wasn’t out and, not until they saw it on the screen did they change their mind.”

Mitchell Marsh of Australia reacts after being given out during the third Chappell-Hadlee Trophy New Zealand v Australia ODI at Seddon Park, Hamilton,ÊMonday, Feb. 8, 2016. (AAP Image/SNPA, Martin Hunter) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY, IMAGES TO BE USED FOR NEWS REPORTING PURPOSES ONLY, NO COMMERCIAL USE WHATSOEVER, NO USE IN BOOKS WITHOUT PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT FROM AAP

Marsh leaves the field. Photo: Martin Hunter, AAP/SNPA.

But McCullum disagreed.

“I saw a couple of the guys appeal,” he said.

“The right decision was made but the process was far from ideal… it’s disappointing from the Australian point of view.”

However, the man who won a Spirit of Cricket Award from the International Cricket Council in 2015 rejected the idea he could have withdrawn the appeal.

“It’s a tough one because I don’t think it’s my decision to do that. If anything, it’s almost disrespectful to do so,” McCullum said after his controversial swansong.

“Ultimately, it comes down to the umpires’ decision. They decided to review it which is pretty normal.

“A lot of occasions, you see bump balls referred pretty much every other time.”

McCullum famously attacked Steve Smith in a newspaper column during an ODI in England last year for not withdrawing a contentious appeal.

He opined that new Australian skipper Smith “missed a great opportunity to strike a blow for the spirit of cricket”.

“He may live to regret it… Smith showed his immaturity,” McCullum wrote.

But Smith couldn’t see any irony in yesterday’s events.

“They’re well within their rights [to appeal],” Smith said.

“I don’t think it’s McCullum’s decision – it’s the umpires’ decision… the whole process needs to be a little bit smoother.”

McCullum insisted he’d acted above board.

“When it did come up on the screen – which is not ideal – I sort of yelled out to Gunner [Gould], ‘What the f… is going on!?’.

“He obviously then came over and said ‘I didn’t think you guys appealed’ – but we did.

“That’s when they discussed it. The only thing I said was ‘surely the right decision needs to be made’.”

McCullum also downplayed his interaction with Marsh.

“It definitely wasn’t heated between us,” the outgoing skipper said.

“I get on really well with Mitch… there was definitely no animosity or choice words.”

Smith suggested the issue was “something that needs to be improved in our game and quickly”.

“The right decision was made, no doubt. We’ve been outplayed throughout this Chappell-Hadlee series,” he added.

(L to R) David Warner, Matthew Wade and Steve Smith of Australia look on after the third Chappell-Hadlee Trophy New Zealand v Australia ODI at Seddon Park, Hamilton, Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. (AAP Image/SNPA, Martin Hunter) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY, IMAGES TO BE USED FOR NEWS REPORTING PURPOSES ONLY, NO COMMERCIAL USE WHATSOEVER, NO USE IN BOOKS WITHOUT PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT FROM AAP

David Warner, Matthew Wade and Steve Smith look on after the game. Photo: Martin Hunter, AAP/SNPA.

The heated incident adds another level of spice to the two-Test series that starts on Friday.

Marsh was hitting the ball well and Australia were reasonably well placed at 5-164 before his dismissal triggered a collapse of 5-27. The allrounder backed up Saturday’s series-levelling effort in Wellington with three wickets and 41 runs on Monday.

Yet again there was a concerning middle-order collapse for Australia that featured Smith, this time the tourists losing 3-19.

McCullum lost the toss but signed off in signature style with the bat, blazing 47 off 27 balls and rocketing NZ to 0-84 before Marsh struck.

The 34-year-old was given a guard of honour by Australia at the start of play and many standing ovations by fans.

“I was kind of hoping it didn’t happen. It was a nice thing from Smithy and the Aussie boys,” McCullum said.

Smith doesn’t expect any additional animosity when the first Test starts in three days at Wellington.

“I don’t think so, we always play a pretty good brand of cricket – both sides do,” Smith said.

“It’s going to be a great series, New Zealand have been playing some very good cricket at home and we’ve got to improve the cricket we play away from home.

“It should be a really hard-fought series.”

Australia will reclaim the No.1 Test ranking if they’re able to defeat NZ 1-0 or 2-0 in the upcoming series.

-AAP

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