Clarke has no idea about Ponting's tactics

Published: Monday, December 29, 2008, 12:10 [IST]
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Melbourne: Not all is well within the Australian team which is very much evident with Michael Clarke failing to explain his captain Ricky Ponting's tactics on a miserable third day of the second Test against South Africa here.

Beginning the day as firm favourites yesterday, Australia ended it as outsiders to win the game and level the series after the South Africa tail wagged sufficiently to steer them to 459 - and a first-innings lead worth 65.

South Africa had been reeling at 184 for seven on day two, but a sublime 166 from JP Duminy again highlighted Australia's urgent need to find suitable replacements for Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne.

Ponting's decision to bowl Mike Hussey early in the day did yield a wicket five balls into his spell, and the captain was down a frontline bowler following a foot injury to Brett Lee which prevented him featuring all day.

But despite being declared fit to bowl, Andrew Symonds was not introduced into the attack until the 125th over of the innings, the penultimate over before tea.

''I have no idea why he didn't come on until so late,'' Clarke said.

''You'll have to ask Ricky that. At the time he did get a bowl, Ricky thought it was appropriate,'' the Aussie vice-captain was quoted as saying by The Sydney Morning Herald.

Left-arm spinner Simon Katich, who has 13 Test wickets, including a haul of 6 for 65, did not bowl at all.

''I asked Simon at some stage if he was okay to bowl and he said he hadn't been bowling in the nets because his shoulder was a little bit sore.

''But had he been asked to bowl I think he would have done that. (It's) probably another question for the skip. I don't make the bowling selections,'' he added.

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