Australia captain Ricky Ponting on Monday defended his controversial decision to use part-time bowlers at a crucial stage in the fourth and final Test against India here.
He was criticised for pressing part-timers Michael Hussey and Michael Clarke into the attack in a bid to make up for a slow over-rate on Sunday when India were struggling to set a stiff fourth-innings target.
The hosts were 166-6 at the tea break for an overall lead of 252 before skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh put on a vital 108 runs, taking advantage of the non-regular Australian bowlers.
Under the International Cricket Council regulations, a captain can face a ban for his team's slow over-rate and indeed that is precisely what happened with the ICC ruling Ponting's side were two overs short of its target.
The ICC Code of Conduct stipulates that players be fined five per cent of their match fees for every over their side does not bowl in the allotted time.
As skipper, Ponting is fined double in what is a binding ruling.
After his team's 172-run defeat Ponting said: "The thing I'm most disappointed about is that there seems to be this inference out there that I've put myself totally ahead of the team."
"Anybody who 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. Nine overs to me is totally unacceptable. So, there's a lesson in it for everyone."
India eventually succeeded in setting a tough 382-run target for Australia, who were bowled out for 209 to lose the series 2-0. The two other matches were drawn.
Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said Monday he will seek an explanation from Ponting over his much-criticised bowling tactics in the final Test, after the captain received a lashing from the Australian media.
But Ponting remained defiant.
"I'm a little bit disappointed with some of the criticism, particularly from former Australian captains," he said.
"I had Jason Krejza bowling at one end and Cameron White, who had been the number one spinner in the first three Tests, operating from the other for a couple of overs. That didn't work out the way I'd have liked.
"In the situation when we were nine overs behind, as captain of the Australian team I feel I have a lot of responsibility to play the game in the right spirit. I have an obligation to try to bowl 90 overs in the day."
Ponting conceded India played better cricket throughout the series.
"This tour we have just been outplayed. India have been better than us in every aspect of the game. When we are outplayed I'll always be the first to say we have been," said the Australian captain.
"Coming here on the third morning, I was really positive but India adopted a certain style of play (defensive field placings) that made it very difficult for us and then chasing 382 today was exceptionally difficult."
Ponting was all praise for debutant off-spinner Krejza, who finished the match with 12 wickets.
"For someone to take 12 wickets on debut is a magnificent achievement. He has worked exceptionally hard," said Ponting.
"He has been waiting for an opportunity and it presented itself in this last Test and he has stood up to be counted probably more than anybody else has in the whole series with his one opportunity."
Krejza, 25, was named man of the match.