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Jellybean-gate leaves sour Test.

As Chrissie Hynde almost sang: There's a thin line between success and failure. And, following on from that, between what might be construed as high jinks and childish behaviour. The latest issue to overtake international cricket - Jellybean-gate - might have been forgiven if England had won the second Test at Trent Bridge.

If Michael Vaughan's men had emerged triumphant against India, the matter of sweets being left on the cricket square would have been laughed off.

Instead, England's poor display led to the matter prompting the same sort of debate as Pakistan's walk-off at The Oval last summer.

Vaughan has been left to defend his team from accusations of performing playground pranks instead of discussing the onesidedness of the contest - irrespective of the toss.

The England captain might wonder what happened to his batsmen, especially in support of his own fine 124, and how his bowlers let India off the hook again.

The weather may have played a part in the first Test draw, but England lacked a killer touch.

The sweet issue is nothing new, with cricket balls often sugar-coated to maintain shine on one side.

Former Warwickshire batsman Andy Moles used to leave pear drops at the crease for visiting players who had made nought in the first innings.

A pear for a pair, geddit?

It even happened in a women's Test, where Aussie bowler Cathy Fitzpatrick left a Love Heart featuring the missive 'Bye, Bye' for England's batters.

This week's sweet saga turned sour because the match was testy enough without added beans.

Indian bowler Shantha Sreesanth was the worst offender, rightly losing half his match fee after throwing in a beamer and a no-ball bouncer and then throwing a wobbly.

But England's constant chatter did them no favours.

If Vaughan had to defend something at his press conferences, it should have been the sledging and carping of his team.

Perhaps they want to emulate the Australians who barrack, bat and bowl in equal measure.

But England are nowhere near them - on any level.

You have to be winning well to get away with the "I'm driving a Porsche Carrera, what's your car?" sledge picked up by the stump microphones.

The fact that even the Aussies have more class than Vaughan's men leaves a sour taste - no matter how many jelly beans there might be going.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Aug 3, 2007
Words:388
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