London: Former England coach Duncan Fletcher has claimed that Australian captain Ricky Ponting knows nothing about the spirit of cricket.
Fletcher, who was abused by Ponting during the 2005 Ashes over the use of substitute fieldsman Gary Pratt, said England would have been delighted to get under Ponting''s skin in the Cardiff Test.
He claimed England captain Andrew Strauss would have been "amused" to receive a blast from Ponting over England's time-wasting tactics.
"If any side in the world doesn't play within the spirit of the game, it's Ponting's Australians, yet here he is sitting in judgment on England because he's frustrated that his bowlers failed to complete the job," Fox Sports quoted Fletcher, as saying.
"We're left with the ridiculous situation of being told off by an Australia captain for transgressing cricket''s spirit - a notion he seems to only vaguely understand himself. Ponting has to be careful. Someone needs to sit down and ask him what he understands by the spirit of the game," he added.
Fletcher's explosive outburst - in his column for The Guardian newspaper - will raise Ashes tensions another notch going into Thursday's second Test at Lord's.
Ponting under fire
In 2005, Ponting let fly with a furious outburst at Fletcher when he was run-out by England substitute fielder Pratt during Australia's fourth Test loss at Trent Bridge.
Now Fletcher insists Ponting's frustration is starting to overflow over as it did in England four years ago.
He claims that Ponting turned on a petulant performance in Cardiff when he confronted umpire Aleem Dar over a disputed catch at silly mid-off.
Tail saves England
"England will now be thinking that the Australians are getting very prickly - just like four years ago - and that''s a good sign for Andrew Strauss and the team. The pressure is on Australia now after their bowlers messed up, and that''s something England can take advantage of," said Fletcher.