Melbourne: A panel of Australian cricketing experts, including Nick McArdle, Damien Fleming and Mark Waugh, have concluded that Australian captain Ricky Ponting"s tactics on the final day of the first Ashes Test at Cardiff, Wales, came up short, and this enabled England to salvage a draw.
Former Australia fast bowler Damien Fleming said he was mystified by Ponting''s decision to remove pace bowler Ben Hilfenhaus just after he had taken the crucial wicket of Graeme Swann to leave the hosts reeling at 8-221.
"I do not know," Fleming said when asked why Ponting had taken Australia''s in-form quick out of the attack at such a pivotal moment.
"I would have liked to see Hilfenhaus and (Peter) Siddle bowl together for about half-a-dozen overs when they took that ninth wicket. That didn''t happen ... I''m sure we will hear a fair bit from it in the next couple of days."
Former middle-order bat Mark Waugh believes both teams would draw some confidence from the result, but felt that the Aussies are going to be "disappointed" after dominating the Test for large periods
Waugh said he wasn''t expecting a heap of changes from either side but he feels England still have "much more improvement in them".
With the honours shared, the consensus among the panel appears to be that England might just have scored a decisive moral victory over their Aussie foes.
"Let"s hope we''re not regretting that come fifth Test time," Fleming said.
Meanwhile in Cardiff, Fox Sports commentators Brendon Julian and Greg Blewett described the last hour of play as "gut wrenching" from an Australian point of view.
Though Australia were unable to finish the job, the panelists agreed that the form of off-spinner Hauritz was an encouraging sign for the rest of the series.