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Hurt Aussie skipper defends his move

cricket Updated: Nov 11, 2008 02:02 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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Most of what Ricky Ponting said after losing the Test and the series was about two strategies. One was his, of using part-time bowlers after tea on the fourth day with India in a bit of bother. The second was Mahendra Singh Dhoni's ploy of stifling Australia with eight men on the off side and the wide outside off line.

While acknowledging that his team ended up chasing the game after holding the edge in the drawn first Test and pointing at the significance of losing the toss thrice after that, Ponting said he didn't deserve to be criticised for keeping frontline bowlers off because it involved the risk of him getting suspended because of slow over rate.

"I'm a little bit disappointed with some of the criticism, particularly from former Australian captains and CA board members. I had Jason Krejza bowling at one end who ended up taking 12 wickets in the game. Cameron White, who'd been the No. 1 spinner in the first three Tests, was operating from the other end.

"Michael Clarke was the next choice. He'd been off the field ill and couldn't bowl until 3.10 pm. We were nine overs behind and I have an obligation to try to bowl 90 overs in a day. We would've been maybe 12 overs down by the time the day ended had I used the quicks. And White I felt had a good chance of getting Harbahjan (Singh) out."

Ponting felt the turning point of the game came on the third day when India restricted his team to 166 runs in 85.4 overs. "Coming here on the third morning I was really positive about how the game was going. India adopted a certain style of play that made it very difficult for us, they chipped in with a few wickets and the scoreboard was going nowhere. Being behind on first innings again wasn't ideal and chasing 380 today was extremely difficult."

Calling the Indians deserving winners, Ponting said luck wasn't on his side either. "We've just been totally outplayed. With the exception of the first Test, any other game we've got back to level but never really got in front. And losing three tosses in a row if you don't actually get yourself back in front after the first innings, it's very hard to win here.

"I'm not pointing the finger at anyone or any aspect. I think at certain times our bowling has been off, at different times our batting has been off as well. India have been better than us in every aspect of the game."