England captain Paul Collingwood risked pitching cricket into one of its most serious crises in years over a chaotic one-day run-out against New Zealand, newspapers said Thursday.
The collision involving England bowler Ryan Sidebottom and New Zealand all-rounder Grant Elliott which led to Elliott being run out cast a shadow over the Black Caps' one-wicket win in the fourth one-dayer at The Oval, they said.
"Oh, the folly of Capt Colly!" was the Daily Mail's headline. The paper said the incident was the worst involving an England captain since Mike Gatting argued with Pakistani umpire Shakoor Rana 21 years ago.
"Paul Collingwood's reputation may be sullied forever," it added.
The Guardian compared the incident to the furore involving former captain Michael Atherton over alleged ball-tampering 14 years ago.
Atherton himself wrote in The Times that England lost "a good deal of self-respect" over the incident but praised Collingwood's "outstanding" honesty and contrition in apologising.
"Cricket became a contact sport here yesterday as England's win-at-all-costs attitude saw them beaten off the last ball by New Zealand in a game soured by the run-out of Grant Elliott at a crucial stage," wrote former England bowler Derek Pringle in the Daily Telegraph.
But Pringle concluded that "justice was eventually served" with New Zealand's victory, which puts them 2-1 up in the series with one game left to play.
Collingwood was, though, defended by ex England captain Nasser Hussain.
"All his life he has trained to be a fighter, a scrapper, a winner and suddenly he had to make a snap decision -- spirit of the game or victory?
"He did what he has always trained to do," Hussain wrote in the Mail, while noting his decision was wrong and praising Collingwood's subsequent apology.