Thursday 4 October 2007 

Ponting Set To Return As Teams Warned Over Conduct

International Cricket Council (ICC) match referee Chris Broad has cautioned India and Australia to improve their boorish on-pitch behaviour ahead of Friday's third one-day international.

Australian skipper Ricky Ponting is set to return after suffering a hamstring injury at last month's Twenty20 World Cup. Fast bowler Nathan Bracken has rejoined the side after the birth of his son Chase.

The series has so far been marred by boorish behaviour, particularly involving Indian bowlers Shanthakumaran Sreesanth and Harbhajan Singh and Australia's Andrew Symonds and Michael Clarke in the second ODI.

Ponting said Broad felt both teams "were on the limit".

"The match referee brought both captains in individually, both me and Adam Gilchrist after (Mahendra) Dhoni," he told a news conference on Thursday.

"He made us know there were a few things he wasn't that pleased (about) and that it was up to the captains to make sure it didn't continue through the series."

ABUSIVE COMMENTS

Harbhajan Singh was reported in the Australian media on Thursday as saying Australian players had abused him.

"I really don't care, to tell the truth," Ponting said. "He has got plenty to say on the field and whenever someone says something back to him he is the first one to run away from it.

"They are the ones who have come out and made all the statements since we've been here, this new India and the new aggressive outlook, the way they are going to play."

He also denied Australia could no longer be called sledgers.

"There has been a lot more made over all the sledging type stuff over the years than is necessary," he said. "Probably even now we are adding more fuel than needs be added.

"Perception is an amazing thing. If we were ever as bad as everyone said we are, or had been, then we would've had a lot more Australian players reported, especially in the last couple of years."

Ponting said although Brad Hodge made zero and three, batting at his number three spot, and reserve stumper Brad Haddin 69 and 87 not out, the latter could still sit out as he was originally an injury replacement.

Bracken, who helped Australia win their maiden ICC Champions Trophy in India last year, hoped there would be some early swing due to the 0900 hours (0330 GMT) start.

© Reuters 2007