Conditions stump Australia in Perth: Ponting

Published: Sunday, January 20, 2008, 3:35 [IST]
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Perth: Australia captain Ricky Ponting admits he misread the WACA Ground conditions following his team's 72-run loss to India in the third Test in Perth.

Australia unleashed a four-pronged pace attack that Ponting hoped would 'rattle' the Indians on what was expected to be a fast and bouncy Perth wicket.

But the move backfired, with Shaun Tait, who was included at the expense of spinner Brad Hogg, having next to no impact on the game with figures of 59/0 and 33/0.

"We probably misread the conditions leading into this game a bit," Ponting reflected.

"Anyone who got out and had a look at the wicket leading up to the game might have thought it might have had a lot more pace and bounce in it than it did. We picked a team that we thought could win."

More woes: At one stage, Australia was eight overs behind the required over-rate as the four speedsters trudged through their overs, forcing Ponting to bowl part-timers Andrew Symonds and Michael Clarke on day three during a crucial period of the game.

"It would have been up to the referee to decide if I was suspended, but as is stated in the code of conduct if you are six or move overs behind you face the chance of a suspension," Ponting said.

"Eight overs down, I had to be able to claw quite a few back to get back under six. We got a few more allowances as the day went on and with the spinners we dragged a lot of the overs back."

"It was definitely a concern (that I could have been suspended). With a Test match on the line like it was, I wouldn't have been doing it as I was if it wasn't a legitimate concern."

While Ponting escaped suspension he could not avoid a monetary penalty, though, as the Australians were still fined by ICC match referee Mike Proctor for being two overs short of their target after time considerations were taken into account.

In accordance with the ICC Code of Conduct regulations governing over-rate penalties, players are fined five per cent of their match fees for every over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time, with the captain fined double that amount.

As such, Ponting was fined 20 per cent of his match fee while each of his players received 10 per cent fines.

Hayden factor:  The Australian skipper, though, said he expected opener Matthew Hayden to be fit for the Adelaide Test, with Chris Rogers set to make way after scoring a disappointing 19 runs over two innings in his Test debut.

"I think it's pretty likely he'll play," Ponting said of Hayden.

"He's done a lot of work this week. He's been running at 85, 90 per cent, doing 40 and 60m sprints."

"He was pretty hard to leave out of this game to tell you the truth. Within himself he just felt he wasn't quite right. He's had a week and a half up his belt, I'm pretty sure he'll be right for Adelaide."

Punter backs Tait despite...: Despite Tait's poor showing, Ponting defended the tearaway quick.

"He bowled one ball at nearly 155k in his first or second over," he said.

"The way things worked out he probably didn't bowl with the ball as new as he'd like to."

"And then yesterday (Friday) I would have loved to have bowled him in a nice long spell in the afternoon but being eight overs down I would have been out for two or three Test matches probably if I had bowled him at that stage."

"I guess it's hard for someone like him to come in having not played a Test match for a while and trying to do the right thing and trying to impress."

"The conditions caught us off-guard, I thought there would be more pace and bounce in it for him to really be able to unsettle them a little bit and that wasn't there."


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