Cricket: Ponting loses the plot

Australian cricket team captain Ricky Ponting looks on the fourth day of the fourth and final...
Australian cricket team captain Ricky Ponting looks on the fourth day of the fourth and final test cricket match between India and Australia in Nagpur. (AP Photo/Gautam Singh)
Australia's batting is all that stands between India and the Border-Gavaskar Trophy after a farcical fourth day of the final cricket test in Nagpur.

The Australians are 0-13 chasing a highly unlikely 382 for victory today.

The target might have been far smaller had captain Ricky Ponting risked a ban for slow over rates by persisting with his pace bowlers after tea yesterday to support debutant spinner Jason Krejza.

Seemingly more worried about a ban than the second most prestigious trophy available to Australia in tests after the Ashes, Ponting used Cameron White, Mike Hussey and Michael Clarke for 12 overs that gave up 47 easy runs to Mahendra Dhoni (55) and Harbhajan Singh (52).

"I don't think for one second that Ricky hasn't pressed for the win," coach Tim Nielsen said in the captain's defence.

"It's easy to sit up in the commentary box or anywhere in the ground and poke fire at the captain because of the decisions he's making out there.

"At the end of the day he's got the responsibility to bowl the overs he has to bowl, there's no way India can come here tomorrow and bowl 20 overs because they feel we're going well - there's a responsibility for both teams, all teams to make sure they bowl the 90 overs required in the spirit of the game."

Krejza, in particular, deserved a better fate after conjuring two wonderful deliveries to claim his ninth and 10th wickets of a memorable match.

His match haul of 12-358 stands as the equal third best test debut of alltime, but also the second most runs conceded by a bowler in a test.

 

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