McGrath extends support to his former team-mates

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Sydney, Jan 7 (UNI) Former Australian fast bowler Glenn McGrath has defended his former team-mates against the India captain Anil kumble's claim that ''Only one team was playing with the spirit of the game.'' ''Anil's a great guy and quite reserved so I find it quite surprising that he would come out and say that (about the spirit of the game)," McGrath said.

He said ''from an Australian point of view, I know the way the guys play and I have total respect for every guy that pulls on a baggy green. The Australians play it hard and fair." McGrath was disappointed with Kumble's comment after the 122-run loss, which included disputes over umpiring, walking and catching, and ended with Harbhajan Singh being suspended for three Tests for racial abuse.

In an controversial end to the Test, Ponting also answered claims of double standards over claiming contentious catches. In the first innings Ponting said his take off Rahul Dravid was not out, but in the second his appeal against Mahendra Singh Dhoni continued despite replays suggesting the ball had touched the ground. He was also a key figure in Sourav Ganguly's dismissal to a low catch to Michael Clarke, telling the umpire Mark Benson it was out.

McGrath said there was 'definitely not' any doubt over Ponting's adherence to the rules. ''If they want to look at his integrity they only need to look at the first innings,'' adding ''that catch, he could have caught it, but he was unsure and he said it - end of story. I saw the replay of what they were talking about yesterday.

To me, the replays showed it flicked the glove, he dived back, caught it, and was well in control of the ball.'' Steve Bucknor on the last day of the second Test adjudged Dravid out for 38, while Mark Benson declared Ganguly out in another controversial decision.

Over the issue that BCCI plans to lodge a formal complaint aginst over the umpiring in the second Test at the SCG, McGrath said, the officials needed greater support. He also called for the ICC international panel of elite umpires to be expanded from its current number of eight.

''Umpires have a tough thing to do,'' he said. ''There's only eight on the panel, there should be more. At the end of the day they call it the way they see it, which is the way it's always been.

Some days you are going to get bad decisions, some days you'll get good ones. You can't pick and choose when you want to complain about it.'' The controversies have overshadowed Australia's winning streak, which equalled the mark set by Steve Waugh's team between 1999 and 2001. McGrath was part of that outfit and was impressed with the modern display.

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