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Aussie press slams Ponting tactics

cricket Updated: Nov 10, 2008 15:31 IST

AFP
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Australian press on Monday criticised Ricky Ponting for worrying more about his own threatened suspension than his team's chances of levelling the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series against India.

Cricket writers and commentators were stunned by what they saw as his efforts to improve Australia's sluggish over rate rather than going for broke to try and win the vital Nagpur Test.

India lead 1-0 in the series and a draw in the fourth and final Test would enable the hosts to regain the trophy from Australia.

The visitors were 13 without loss at stumps on Sunday chasing an unlikely 382 to win.

Reports said Ponting eased the pressure on India when he pressed part-time slow bowlers Michael Hussey and Michael Clarke into the attack in the final session of the fourth day's play, apparently to make up for a slow over rate.

Under International Cricket Council regulations, a captain can face a ban for his team's slow over-rate.

One writer described it as Ponting's worst day as national captain.

"Ricky Ponting had every reason to hang his head in shame after allowing India to escape the noose in the crunch fourth Test," The Daily Telegraph's Jon Pierik said.

"In his most embarrassing moment in his 48th Test as Test captain in five years in charge, Ponting opted to worry more about improving Australia's sluggish over rate than going for broke to try and snare a must-win match when a result was clearly on the line.

"Ponting amazingly was more concerned about being suspended for next week's first Test against cricketing backwater New Zealand at the Gabba."

The Australian's Malcolm Conn wrote: "In what must surely be Ricky Ponting's worst day as national captain he may have cost Australia the Border-Gavaskar Trophy by attempting to save himsef captaincy seen in the long and proud history of Australian cricket.

Former Test batsman Mark Waugh, watching the Test from the Fox Sports Sydney studio, said he would probably have stuck with the best bowlers in the situation and accepted the possibility of a ban if it meant winning a game.

Ponting has been one of Australia's most successful captains. He has lost just one series, the 2005 Ashes, although it appears this will be his second series loss.