Clarke defends send-offs

In a corner of the glowing image of Australia’s World Cup triumph is a blot that no amount of rubbing ever will remove. It is the disposition of the Australians at the dismissals of three New Zealanders during a largely one-sided final. Brad Haddin mocked Martin Guptill by clapping his gloves in Guptill’s face after he was bowled by Glenn Maxwell, while Grant Elliott and Daniel Vettori were sent on their respective ways with volleys of words.

It was the sort of ugliness the ICC had promised to crack down on in this tournament. Like footballers who used to run amok in grand finals until the penalties were doubled, Australia’s cricketers seemed to take the attitude that in a World Cup final, as long as they won, no punishment — no matter how stringent — could hurt them.

ELLIOTT-AP  Grant Elliott cops a mouthful from Brad Haddin, James Faulkner and substitute Pat Cummins. Photo: AP