Monday 10 November 2008 

Ponting Again Defends Over-Rate Decision

	Ponting Again Defends Over Rate Decision
Ponting Again Defends Over Rate Decision
© REUTERS/Punit Paranjpe (INDIA) Picture Supplied by Action Images
Australia captain Ricky Ponting said his decision to use part-time bowlers on the fourth day of the final Test was not to save himself from a possible one-match ban for repeated slow over-rate offence.

Australia lost the final test by 172 runs on Monday to lose the four-Test series 2-0, their first series defeat since the 2005 Ashes tour of England and also their first series defeat against India in seven years.

Ponting brought on part-time bowlers Mike Hussey and Michael Clarke on Sunday to improve the over rate when Australia had India in trouble at 166 for six.

The move was criticised by several former Australian players and Cricket Australia is to question the captain on his move.

"The thing I'm most disappointed about is there seems to be this inference out there that I've put myself totally ahead of the team," Ponting, who has already been fined twice this year for slow over rate, told a news conference.

"Anybody that knows me or knows the way I play my cricket or operate around the Australian team or any team would hopefully not say that's the case," Ponting said.

"I'd like to think as far as team players go that there haven't been many more that have ever played for Australia that would do more than I have for the team."

India exploited the opportunity to recover as Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh hit fifties and shared in a 108-run stand.

Ponting pointed out that he had off-spinner Jason Krejza, who took 12 wickets on debut, bowling from one end and used Cameron White, who had been picked as the first-choice spinner, operating from the other end for a few overs.

"Michael Clarke was the next choice, he'd been off the field ill and couldn't bowl until 3.10pm, and being in the situation that we were, nine overs down, myself as captain of the Australian cricket team I feel I have a lot of responsibility to play the game in the right spirit," added Ponting.

"I have an obligation to try to bowl 90 overs in the day's play and the way we were heading if the quicks had continued then we would've been maybe 12 overs down by the time the day ended, so they're some of the reasons why it was that way.

"At no stage did I ever feel it was totally negative at the other end, with White I actually felt he'd be as good a chance as anybody of getting Harbhajan out. As soon as Clarke was fit he came back on and it's only a few months ago he won us a Test in Sydney with his bowling."

© Reuters 2008