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Australian team critcised for their on-field behaviour in the 3rd Test against South Africa

Michael Clarke-led Australian setup © Getty Images
Michael Clarke (above) was involved in a spat with Dale Steyn during the final Test match against South Africa at Cape Town © Getty Images (File Photo)

Sydney: Mar 7, 2014

Australians have acclaimed their cricket team’s epic series win over South Africa, but not the manner in which they achieved it.

Michael Clarke‘s team on Wednesday clinched a 2-1 series win over the world’s No 1 ranked Test side just months after thrashing England 5-0 in their home Ashes series.

But just as Australia dominated the South Africans with their aggressive brand of cricket under coach Darren Lehmann, the team was rebuked by sections of the media on Friday over their on-field behaviour during the final Cape Town Test.

“Darren Lehmann has guided the Australian cricket side to the top of the world. His next challenge is to control it,” News Ltd cricket columnist Robert Craddock said.

“Australian fans like to see their side play tough cricket but social media in Australia yesterday had strong feedback from fans wanting their side to behave better.

“The sight of Michael Clarke angrily confronting umpires and Australian fieldsmen barking like dogs at batsmen left a lot of people cold and alienated from the team and its success.”

Some Australian cricketers were pictured howling following the dismissal of South African batsman Faf du Plessis, in reaction to Du Plessis’s comments likening them to “a pack of dogs” in the field.

Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive James Sutherland said the barking dogs incident might have been childish, but he saw it as funny.

“That’s just typical childish cricketers, but he [Du Plessis] asked for that with his comments a few days earlier,” Sutherland said in a radio interview.

“Some people might not see the humour in that but I did.”

David Sygall, writing in Fairfax Media, said: “The Australian psyche is characterised by uncompromising toughness, determination and dignity.

“Those traits must no longer be confused with boorish and bullying behaviour.”

“After another significant win by our national cricket team, too many people are only half-celebrating. Too many people feel the team has not spoken for them.”

“Judging by commentary on websites and blogs across the country, a chunk of people too large to ignore feels disappointed by the team’s behaviour. Many feel unrepresented by Clarke’s men.”

Clarke apologised for being “out of line” in a spat with South African Dale Steyn during the tense finish to the series-ending Test.

Clarke had already been the subject of a lecture from the match umpires, who were unhappy with how regularly the Australians were letting the ball hit the pitch when throwing in, a scuffing tactic which generally aids reverse swing.

The Australia captain conceded that he had been at fault in the showdown with Steyn that immediately followed the wicket of Vernon Philander being overturned.

“If anybody was out of line it was me and I apologise to the opposition player [Steyn] I was out of line to, a player who I have the utmost respect for, who tries to kill me every time I bat, who batted exceptionally well, and I was out of line,” he said.

“Let’s just say he got me at a bad time.”

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