The Ashes has ended in a double spray – one from The Oval crowd towards Michael Clarke, and one in the early hours from the England players on the pitch.
Clarke was loudly booed by the capacity crowd after the fifth day of the fifth Test was abandoned as a draw due to bad light with England needing 21 runs in four overs to complete an historic 4-0 series win.
It was the visiting captain who had risked defeat by setting up the exciting finish with a bold declaration at tea, but after remonstrating with umpires about the fading light it was he who was the target of spectators’ frustration when he came to the stage at the presentation ceremony on Sunday evening.
The distasteful scenes did not stop there. Four hours later, England celebrated their retention of the Ashes trophy and replica urn for a third straight series by urinating on The Oval pitch.
After relocating their post-match party from the dressing room to the field, several players including Stuart Broad and Kevin Pietersen took turns to get up from where they were sitting and wander over to relieve themselves on the pitch. Cleaning staff and other venue employees were still present at the ground at the time.
The controversial finale to England’s 3-0 series victory came as tension escalated between the two teams, who will resume their rivalry in the Australian summer.
Clarke and Pietersen had engaged in a shouting match earlier in the Test and on the last day there were more insults traded between the Australian captain and England bowler James Anderson.
Several Australians had taken pot shots at England for their slow batting on day three, and coach Darren Lehmann had accused Broad of ”blatant cheating” on the eve of the match, drawing a fine from the International Cricket Council.
Clarke denied there was ill-feeling, although counterpart Alastair Cook said: ”It’s been an interesting series in that way.”
Asked about being booed, Clarke said: ”It doesn’t surprise me.”
He received support from Lehmann, who noted it was the captaincy of Clarke that turned a fizzled-out draw into an edge-of-the-seat thriller. ”Look, I can’t control the crowd,” the coach said. ”What I do know is that game was set up totally by the Australian cricket team and I think the crowd probably enjoyed that more than the other days so far.”
Lehmann said he had spoken to Broad. ”We just move on,” he said.
Hugh Robertson, the UK sport minister, told BBC radio on Monday that urinating on the pitch was “not great behaviour”, indicating that the England and Wales Cricket Board would look into the matter
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