Australia coach Tim Nielsen stood by skipper Ricky Ponting's decision to use part-timers to step up the over rate instead of bringing on his fast bowlers after they had India in trouble in the final Test on Sunday.
Nielsen Stands By Ponting On Over-Rate Decision
Ricky Ponting in the field in Nagpur.
©REUTERS/Punit Paranjpe (INDIA) Picture Supplied by Action Images
India were 166 for six in their second innings at tea on day four of the fourth test but Ponting, whose team need to win to square the series, still chose to bring on Mike Hussey and Michael Clarke for 10 overs in a bid to improve their over rate.
The captain, who has already been fined twice this year for slow over rate, was faced with a possible one-match ban for the repeated offence of slow over rates.
"I don't think for one second that Ricky hasn't pressed for the win," Nielsen told a news conference.
"We were behind in our overs, we'd used our fast bowlers before the tea break and had some success, the consequence or offshoot of bowling our fast bowlers for most of the day before that was that we were down in our over rate.
"Everybody's aware of the consequences of the captain being more than six overs down at the end of the match, the captain then is put in a place where he can be suspended."
India recovered through a 108-run stand by captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh, who both half-centuries, to set Australia an improbable target of 382.
"At the end of the day he's got the responsibility to bowl the overs he has to bowl," Nielsen added. "On top of that they had a good partnership after tea that took momentum away from us and that's the way the day panned out.
"It's easy to sit up in the commentary box or anywhere in the ground and poke fire at the captain because of the decisions he's making out there."
Dhoni said his team had exploited the opportunity.
"You know that the part-time bowlers will bowl," he told reporters. "We really took on the spinners to get some runs. That was what the plan was. And we were quite happy to get a few runs on the board in that particular time."
© Reuters 2008