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Time-wasting row refuses to die down

A DAY before the start of the second Ashes test, the "time-wasting" row from the finale of the first match refuses to die down with Australia captain Ricky Ponting weighing in again yesterday.

"I have been a bit blown away by all the fuss over my comments on England's physio and 12th man in Cardiff," Ponting wrote in the Daily Telegraph. "As I tried to explain that night, I was disappointed when they came back out on to the field for a second time, but it had no bearing on the game. Now it seems as if we're all talking about that one little incident, when we've just witnessed one of the great climaxes to a Test match.

"It's all done and dusted, it was over within a couple of minutes, and the players have all moved on."

England sent in its 12th man twice in two overs and its physio as tailenders James Anderson and Monty Panesar held out for a draw.

Ponting, using the classic Australian put-down, described it as "pretty ordinary."

Former England coach Duncan Fletcher took issue with that and wrote in yesterday's Guardian: "Ponting has to be careful. Someone needs to sit down and ask him what he understands by the spirit of the game. The way he plays is definitely not in the spirit."

Ponting described Fletcher as "a very irrelevant person in my life and probably in the cricket world at the moment. "In recent years our record of players being reported or stepping over the line in international cricket has probably been as good as anyone's."

Others were not so keen to let the tourists off the hook.

"Had the words been spoken by just about anyone else on Planet Cricket, they might have carried some weight, but from the diminutive Aussie they smack of crass hypocrisy," wrote Matthew Syed in The Times.


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