Ponting condemns bottle throwing
Ricky Ponting has condemned the ugly crowd scenes that marred Australia's 84-run one-day win over the West Indies following a day of extremes in St Vincent.
Angry fans hurled hundreds of plastic bottles onto the field at the Arnos Vale Sports Complex as Ponting's side sought refuge in the middle of the pitch in a regrettable end to what had been a poignant day for Australian cricket following the weekend passing of Jane McGrath.
Ponting said such behaviour had no place in international cricket.
But after experiencing far worse crowd problems during Australia's Caribbean tour in 1999, the skipper refused to add any further fire to the issue post-match in a bid to try not detract any further from his side's emphatic performance.
"I'm not even worried about what happened at the end of the game, it's completely out of our control, and there's nothing we can do about that," said Ponting, whose side took a 1-0 lead in their five-match series with victory.
"For some reason or other the crowd has decided that that's what they wanted to do.
"At the end of the day, even the fact we're talking about it is taking a bit of the gloss of an otherwise good performance from Australia."
Chasing 274 for victory after Shaun Marsh (81) had steered Australia to 8-273 on debut, the Windies crumbled to 3-29 before eventually being dismissed for 189 just moments after play had resumed following the supporter hostility.
The uncertainty surrounding the dismissal of Darren Sammy was what sparked the crowd trouble as he waited for confirmation that Nathan Bracken's delivery had clipped the bails.
But the seeds of unrest had well and truly been laid much earlier when Windies skipper Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo had lingered long at the crease in displeasure after both were contentiously given out LBW by umpire Asad Rauf.
Fortunately for Australia, only one player was in harm's way when the crowd began to toss bottles, with allrounder James Hopes making a mad dash to the safety of middle of the field the moment he sensed trouble.
No player was hit, but bottles did strike photographers working around the boundary.
"Hopesy was out there and came running in pretty quickly ... he was standing in the middle and said, 'I can't go back out there' So I went and told the umpires about it, and the umpires got the security around there straight away," Ponting said.
"It (the crowd trouble) has been a lot worse on a couple of occasions before: once in Guyana and once in Barbados (in 1999) was a lot worse than that.
"There were a few bottles thrown around today and full bottles thrown as well, which you don't want.
"There's no room for that in the international game. Luckily today they did miss James, otherwise it could have been a bit nasty. The bottles were travelling 50 or 60 metres I guess. It would have been a nasty incident if it had have hit him."
Local officials claimed they were happy with security at the ground.
"We had more than 135 police at the ground. When the trouble started, I thought they responded very quickly," said Julian Jack, president of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Cricket Association.
Windies coach John Dyson, meanwhile, denied Gayle and Bravo had added to the crowd unrest by hanging around at the crease after being dismissed.
"I didn't see any lingering, only with the one at the end when there was a bit of controversy about whether or not the ball had hit the stumps or rebounded off the keeper's pads. When the umpire said 'you're out', they went," Dyson said.
Both teams marked the passing of Jane McGrath with a minute's silence before play, with the Australians wearing pink ribbons and batting with pink grips in tribute of the late wife of former teammate Glenn McGrath, who lost her 11-year battle with cancer at the weekend.
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