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When Ponting had umpire Bowden in a fix

india Updated: Mar 13, 2011 00:59 IST
Nikhilesh Bhattacharya
Nikhilesh Bhattacharya
Hindustan Times
Nikhilesh Bhattacharya

Mind games seem to be high on Australian captain Ricky Ponting's priority list ahead of the clash against Kenya and who better to try them out on than umpire Billy Bowden from New Zealand.

Bowden will be the third umpire in Sunday's clash and was at the Australians' nets on Saturday when the fun began. Ponting was batting against leg-spinner Steve Smith with Bowden standing in as umpire when the skipper started experimenting with different stances and batting grips.

Smith appeared to set an imaginary field with no one in the cover boundary and Ponting immediately turned around to become a left-hand batsman, eying what became a gap in mid-wicket.

Bowden got involved in the banter between Smith and Ponting, which led to Ponting changing his grip: he was still in a left-hander's stance but with his left hand as the top hand. He did not actually play a shot from that stance, but kept chatting with Bowden after going out of the nets.

"I was just having a bit of fun with Smith. I was trying to put him under pressure and get him to think about the ways he needs to bowl against some of the better batsmen," Ponting said when asked about the incident.

"I was getting some clarifications from the umpire as to what are the changes for a left-hander and a right-hander and where the wide lines are in those circumstances. I was having a bit of a joke with Billy, but I think I've got him thinking," Ponting said.

Will Bowden have the last laugh on Sunday? Time will tell.