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The wheels come off

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Tom Fordyce | 10:01 UK time, Monday, 27 December 2010

Melbourne, Victoria

Ricky Ponting probably feels as if he's copped enough punishment in the first two days of the fourth Test - his side bowled out for 98, England sticking on 444-5 in reply for a virtually unassailable lead of 346 and climbing, his own form collapsing and the Ashes slipping ever further from his grasp.

And now this - fined 40% of his match fee after a prolonged remonstration with the umpires. Midway through the afternoon, Australia's captain lost first a referral against Kevin Pietersen and then his temper, berating both umpires for several minutes as team-mates gathered at his shoulder to lend their support.

Ponting has never been slow to eject toys from his stroller. Combative, aggressive and stubborn with a bat in his hand, he can deal with defeat and disappointment in a laudably honest, up-front fashion. At other times, particularly when he is under extreme pressure in the field, those same characteristics can get out of control.

The delivery that triggered it all initially looked relatively innocuous - a little swinger from Ryan Harris that came back enough to pass between Pietersen's bat and front pad. Neither Harris nor first slip Shane Watson bothered appealing.

Wicketkeeper Brad Haddin was the first to go up. Others then joined in. Aleem Dar, standing in his 62nd Test, shook his head. Pietersen stayed motionless.

Haddin, convinced, ran down the track making the 'T'-shaped request for a television referral. Ponting, at mid-off rather than second slip to protect his injured finger, jogged in to join him.

Up in the stands, TV umpire Marais Erasmus scrolled through the replays. There was no edge visible on either slow-motion or Hotspot from any of the angles offered. That, you thought, was that. The Barmy Army cheered and Dar signalled that the referral had been lost.

Ponting was furious. To his eyes, the replay on the giant screen in the MCG indicated the faintest white mark on the bottom of Pietersen's bat. Trouble was, it was nowhere near the flight of the ball. It was also so vague as to be almost imaginary.

For Punter, it was enough. He had also seen Pietersen winking at him happily, examining the edge of his bat with calculated enjoyment.

Striding towards Dar, he stood with hands on hips and gave full vent to his feelings. When Dar walked away to be in position for the next over, he switched his attention to Pietersen, standing mid-pitch with Jonathan Trott, and then the other umpire Tony Hill as he came in from square leg. None were for moving.

More was to follow. With Australia enjoying a rare period of ascendancy just before tea, Matthew Prior edged Mitchell Johnson to Haddin and began to walk off, only to be halted by Umpire Dar.

Glancing down at Johnson's footmark, Dar thought he may have missed a no-ball, and asked Erasmus to check. Sure enough, the left-armer had over-stepped the crease. Prior, on just five, was reprieved while Ponting went puce. By the close he had added another 70 runs in an unbroken stand of 158.

Pressure can do strange things to all of us. Pietersen's body language made several experienced watchers think he'd got the tiniest edge. The Snickometer which later showed no sound as ball passed bat is not 100% foolproof. But is any of that a defence for Ponting's actions?

Former Australian skipper Ian Chappell, who led his side in four Ashes series and is now an expert summariser for Test Match Special, was vehement in his condemnation.

"To argue over a judgement call for something like eight minutes with both umpires, and then to have words with one of the opposing batsmen is ridiculous," he told me.

"You also saw other Australian players come in to get involved. As a captain you do get hot under the collar. But you hope that one of your team-mates will grab you by the arm and say, 'Mate, just calm down for a second,' - try to ease you out of the way and give you a chance to calm down.

"If I was an adjudicator I'd find it a suspendable offence. It's not like it's the first thing that has happened with him - that's the thing.

"I don't look at it from the point of view of Ponting being a role model, I look at it as there are certain things you can do and certain things you can't.

"It's quite clear that you can discuss a point of law with an umpire, but you can't discuss a judgement call. Nor should you be allowed to.

"I think the ICC are to blame in part - they're not to blame for him arguing, but they're to blame for not stopping him. If you stop a captain he understands, 'Right, I'm not supposed to do that. Even if I'm hot under the collar, I'm not supposed to do that.' But if you let him do it and get away with it, he thinks he can do it."

It's not the first time a leading Australian player has torn into Dar. Four years ago, in a VB Series match against South Africa, Adam Gilchrist was fined 40% of his match fee after pleading guilty to dissent, having berated Dar for not referring a run-out appeal against Boeta Dippenaar.

But if Gilchrist's outburst was somewhat out of character, Ponting has piles of previous.
He has been found guilty of breaching the ICC Code of Conduct six times in his Test career - four of those for showing dissent - and been forced to pay more than Aus $25,000 in fines for bad behaviour. Under his leadership, the Australian team has been hit with 18 separate code-of-conduct breaches.

Neither does he appear to be mellowing or learning with age.

"International cricket matches are passionate affairs, but as the captain of the Australian cricket team I understand it is my responsibility to uphold the spirit of the game and I know that through my actions I let myself and my team down."

That quote is from September 2006, when Ponting was fined his entire match fee for haranguing Asad Rauf about a wide he called in a DLF Cup match against the West Indies.

When Ponting blew his top at Trent Bridge in 2005, having been run out by substitute fielder Gary Pratt, it came to be seen as seminal moment in the series, the moment England knew they were truly in the ascendancy. His strop here on Monday, his team falling apart round his ears, has an equally definitive air.

That the row overshadowed another remorseless Trott century, his third in five Ashes Tests, will bother England not one bit.

Trott now averages over 90 against Australia. Together with Prior he snuffed out any last sparks of hope Ponting and his team may have had of salvaging something from the wreckage of that disastrous Boxing Day performance.

With all the patience, concentration and application that the Australian top order lacked, he played entirely to his strengths, scoring almost two-thirds of his 141 runs through the leg side and failing to offer a single chance.

Ponting found himself unable to applaud his century, just as no Australian fielder had moved when Trott lay motionless on the ground after being struck on the inside of his knee by Ben Hilfenhaus. Neither did Ponting bother to congratulate Prior on his first half-century of the series.

"Losing hurts," James Sutherland, CEO of Cricket Australia, had admitted on TMS during the tea interval when discussing the path of the series so far. We would all agree with that. It's how you react to it that counts.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Real telling reaction from Ponting (who got fined 40% of his match fee and might consider himself lucky not to have worse). That level of reaction based on nothing much but his wicket keeper's say-so is indicative of the massive pressure he feels himself under...whole world against him.

    Sad that Collingwood's terrible form continues and Bell failed, but apart from that little flurry it was exactly what England would've wanted in batting out the day.

    Siddle had his best day since the very first of this Ashes, yeoman effort and deserved rewards. Australia in general worked hard but with so much damage already done it's tough, and the sixth wicket partnership ruthlessly stamped all over any hopes of restricting England to a 250-odd lead.

    So England 346 up, with 5 wickets still in hand. No chance of a declaration I'd bet, with so much time left just keep on batting until all out, unless something really silly is happening like we get to 700-5 or something. I'd think the Australians would be batting by the evening at least.

    Expecting a much tougher time getting the Aussies out in their second innings so line and length needs to be as tight as on the first day.

    Looking good...

  • Comment number 2.

    I´m really pleased with Darr referring the possible no-ball. He wasn´t sure, paused, then asked the 3rd Ump to check it for him. To me, that is the way technology should be used for now. I don´t like the way the UDRS is used for speculations, while the intention is to rule out howlers. I also don´t like the way it undermines the confidence in the Umpire´s decision.

    But I'm shocked by Ponting's behaviour, but even more so with the action taken. 40% for arguing with *both* umpires? And KP?
    It also, to me, was like watching him sign his resignation letter.

    Goodbye Ricky. You were a great with the bat. But not in your conduct.

  • Comment number 3.

    be interesting to see papa shango's view on this battering of Oz ...

    however in the real world, i am delighted about englands return to winning ways both today and yesterday, so long may it continue!!

    only blip unfortunatly is one aggers made in his colum and that's colly, i'm afraid after this series it may be time to give him an extended rest or something, don't drop him against for the last test, could still be his last chance to prove what he can do, Cooky did it against pakistan, and look how he's turned out.

    however still, cmon england! and lets have 600!!!

  • Comment number 4.

    Bell at 5 for the last test, Morgan in at 6. I think its 10 out of the last 12 innings Collingwood has failed to reach double figures. I'm a big fan, but sometimes a player just needs to be taken out of a team for the good of himself and the team. At 34 he's not exactly on the scrapheap, but some succession planning for the future might be in order?

  • Comment number 5.

    Hi Tom,

    Merry Christmas, mate.
    Your view on Ponting is correct in my opinion.
    The Australian team are pretty much the same as him too.
    Arguing with umpires when losing, over the top abusive "sledging" when they are winning.

    Bad losers and graceless winners.

  • Comment number 6.

    It was Ricky Ponting's 'Roy Keane' moment - when Keano and his fellow Man Ure fools chased Andy D'Urso to the touchline after a penalty had been awarded against them against Boro. We're great fans of Ponting, but he really overstepped the mark there.

    England's blip in Perth seems just that and surely at some point in the next two days, the Ashes are surely going to be retained. Magical.

    Trott now has the second highest average in test history and averages over 100 against the Aussies - can we play you every week?

    Day 2 at the MCG dissected: Trott so hot as Ponting boils over -

  • Comment number 7.

    i'm going to say no dropping of collingwood after this test - continuity seems to help teams a lot. however i guess it is probably needed if he fails in sydney as well.

  • Comment number 8.

    Eoin Morgan has had one, brief innings all tour. He has also had just one decent innings in his six Tests so far has has provided more than half his Test runs, hence his average in the low 30s. For now, I think that Paul Collingwood is safe for Sydney (if Morgan had been getting runs and making a case for inclusion it would be another matter) and then, like Michael Vaughan in 2008, it´s runs away from the Test side or retirement. I am still far from convinced that Eoin Morgan is going to prove to be a Test-class batsman long-term.

    The Ponting affair has already had too much time and space dedicated to it. Let´s face it, unless he has a comeback of Lazarus-like proportions, the Sydney Test is almost certainly going to be his last. He´s heading into the sunset and a rather unwanted place in history and struggling to cope with it.

  • Comment number 9.

    Does it matter? In all likelihood this will be his final test in charge anyway.

    The captaincy should be handed over as soon as the series is lost and Ponting and several others ejected from the team. Not necessarily retired, but let them prove themselves again in shield cricket before being reconsidered.

  • Comment number 10.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 11.

    Collingwood might play better in the one-dayers as he'll be captaining them. Maybe having a test off would do him some good, however, if England win I can't seem them ditching him. The Finn decision for this test seems to have been on fatigue but England are slower to replace players based on form than the bad old days of the 80's and 90's. Generally that is to be applauded but I do feel inclined to give Morgan an opportunity.

    Ponting, and his team are a disgrace for the way they conducted themselves today. Australia have decided to be aggressive, because they feel that they were too friendly with England, but they haven't learnt that it doesn't mean you argue with the umpire or behave in an unsporting way. Australia go from one extreme to another because they are completely at sixes and sevens as to how to cope with things now they are no longer the best team.

    Play cricket hard, but play it fair, and try to abide with the laws of the game - don't be a boorish oaf.

  • Comment number 12.

    Here's a question for you all, if England with at the MCG to secure the Ashes, should we either drop Collie and let Morgan have a go in Sydney or should we keep with COllie to give him a match where the pressure is off?? I think the former as Morgan is just starting his career and could do with a match in Oz.

    Also, anothet slightly amusing fact, Day 1 = 87k attendance (well to begin with anyway), Day 2 = 64k. Bit of a shame to see the great MCG nearly half empty for the boxing day test....

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.

    At last the most unsporting person in sport is slapped down for his whining. Ponnting is the most surly cricketer around and knows little of sportsmanship when winning or losing. This episode should have led to a suspension but obviously a quickie apology has killed that off. The only good thing about his actions is that this will probably lead to it being his last series as an Aussie player & captain.

  • Comment number 15.

    A grand grinding day's cricket, in modern terms at least. Less than 300 runs, only 5 wickets. Plenty of incident mind you.

    On Ponting, I think we risk being high-and-mighty if we fail to recognise that his tunnel vision, his open display of 'personality' is the obverse of the temperament that has made his such a dangerous opponent with the bat. His ability to be his own man at the crease, to trust his own will and to use that to master that of whoever has been bowling to him was always a quality we English feared. It's not that he is right to challenge the Umpires (as he has regularly done through his career), it's just part of who he is.

    For England, well 5 of the top 7 have made 50s and one has gone to make a century (and, as they say, with power to add). I am sure a certain poster will point out at least one failure with particular relish, but our score now puts us out of reach, surely.

    One faint dilemma - declare overnight to make use of the 1st session uncertainty? Of course we wont, but worth not telling them we wont until 10.30 tomorrow.

  • Comment number 16.

    ahh, papa shango, once again displaying the level of knowledge fit for a speck of dust.

    Every single retired professional cricketer who has commented on the Ponting incident has lambasted him. No place for that kind of behaviour, and for the record if Strauss behaved in the same way I would say the same. 40% fine? Lucky its not a suspension for a level 2 offence.

  • Comment number 17.

    This is why I am ecstatic to see the end of the Australian reign. They have always been poor sportsmen. When they were winning, their behaviour was often excused as competitiveness and "what it takes to win".

    Long may the rot continue.

  • Comment number 18.

    PS I hope the fool that is #10 really did place a bet on Australia to win because you'll lose it quite comfortably.

  • Comment number 19.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 20.

    Put on the long spikes, bat past 600 and dance all over a Swanny length.

  • Comment number 21.

    Thinking on, I wonder if Punter's outbursts are as much to try to fire up his side with that Fergie-esque 'siege mentality' as they are for his own anger.

  • Comment number 22.

    Comments on Morgan's lack of play/runs are valid but Collingwood has had one or two poor innings. If Morgan comes in and scores say 8 & 15, is that any different to what Colly has done over the last 4 tests?

    Blood him and see if he can turn one day skill into test match obduracy

  • Comment number 23.

    #19 try reading the rules of the game - if you bothered to read what is on the BBC about the rule Ponting broke you might have a better understanding that he does not have the right to do what he did. You are a complete idiot with no understanding whatsoever. I will not be engaging with you any further on the subject.

    You take great delight in seeing Collingwood fail - I don't see how you can be a genuine England fan as if you were, you'd be wanting every England player to be doing well. If you actually took part in some intelligent discussion and banter then people would welcome you actively, but you don't, and therefore people can't stand you on here.

    By the way, its EXERCISING. As Ian Chappell would have said to Ponting, go and jump in the lake.

  • Comment number 24.

    Papa Shango - I've mostly enjoyed your wind-ups. At your best you harness that element of fear in all our English souls (oh god 10 - 3 again) to some morsels of half-truth (Collingwood, the Larry Gomes of this side).

    However seeing a close game in this one is a stretch and I'll happily take your money if you want to bet on an Oz win - after all you will have nothing to lose. If England win you'll presumably be happy and if Oz win you'll have my tenner. Deal?

  • Comment number 25.

    Don't know about anyone else but I find the way the the Aussies are carrying on pretty funny - Ponting moaning (not much new there!!)and not applauding 50's and 100's, they're acting like little kids, luckily, they're playing like them too!!!

  • Comment number 26.

    As a supposed role model, Ponting really let himself and the Australian team down. For me, only a ban would have been a sufficient punishment. As an active umpire I am seeing more and more decent and boorish behaviour entering our wonderful game and I for one do NOT like it.

  • Comment number 27.

    Another great summary Tom, filled with great insights and humour.

    Was trying to find stats for MCG tests to see biggest 2nd innings runs chases, but struck out, anyone care to share?

    Still worried that form's going to return to the hapless Aussies, but they certainly don't deserve it. The display today typified their attitude to sport - if I'm not winning it's not fair and I'll scream and scream until I get my own way or until I'm sick.

    I remember Colly back in the Commonwealth back series back in Jan 2007, scored 120 odd when we had our backs to the wall. 18 for 3 or something it was when McGrath dropped Bell - we sang Happy Birthday Ian throughout the match, it was McGrath's...

    Yes, I remember that, whitewash ashes loss and then we won the CB series. In Sydney some of the Australian team went over to share some beers with Colly, Fred and the boys after the match - how many exactly was that, er 2 - yes just 2, Brett Lee and Adam Gilchrist - the ONLY Aussie players I ever had any respect for - the rest of them are all the same, in the Ponting mould - spoilt people in a spoilt country.

  • Comment number 28.

    #27 you're right about the CB series in 2007 - they showed the first final where Collingwood got that century during the lunch interval on Sky today. Lee and Gilchrist (generally) were sportsmen and as you say, rightly deserve respect.

  • Comment number 29.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 30.

    Again not a very good team selection for a test match. Aussie were not like that in the past they always select a bold team including 6 batsmans a a batting wicket keeper and 4 front line bowlers. But now what they are tring to do is to include allrounders in the team. They are not sure about their batsman and niether their bowlers. What they should do is to inclue first 6 geneiune batsmans and 4 bowlers.
    The 2nd thing they should do is to open with 2 geneiune batsmans not with a allrounder like watson. If they are so admirer of watson they they can ask him to bat at no 6. But there is no place of smith. Infact it would be a good pick if they pick another batsman in place of smith whose performance is commentable. They must differenciate between test and one day cricket. For example watson is a good choice for a one day team opener but for test match their must a geneiune batsman.
    Austrialian selectors have to think again and changed their strategy. If want to survive.

  • Comment number 31.

    Incidentally, he got 70 and 2 wickets in the second final and was made man of the finals for his contributions.

  • Comment number 32.

    Ponting is very lucky not have been charged with a Level 2 offence and, in most people's book 8 minutes of arguing would be classed as dissent.

    Isn't Ponting one of those who is strongly opposed to reviewing decisions? If so then we now know why.

    Being aggresive to umpires in the hope of getting them reverse a demonstrably correct decision is nothing other than cheating and opposing something which helps umpires get the correct decision is quite simply opposing something that stops you cheating.

    Just goes to prove the old adage:

    Australians are no good at sport, just at winning"

  • Comment number 33.

    Just shows that whilst Australia often excells at sport, they lack one thing, being able to be a "Sport".

  • Comment number 34.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 35.

    #29 you are alone. You simply do not read, watch, or listen to anybody else. You always mention about lots of other people agreeing with you, but I think they must be the other people talking to you in your brain because they don't exist in reality.

    So you enjoy seeing him fail... well I think that single remark shows what sort of person you are. You are worthy only of the most complete contempt. A thoroughly nasty piece of work. Swann hasn't failed either by the way but I know you ignore anything which goes against your bigotted opinions.

  • Comment number 36.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 37.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 38.

    #36 "on a knife edge"

    so will you take my tenner then? or are you merely larking about?

  • Comment number 39.

    Collingwood scored as many runs as the in-form Mike Hussey made for Australia.

    We would all have settled for that at the start of the test match.

    I personally would retain the same side for Sydney. Colly's not had the best 2010, but he's still got a test average of 40.82, which is pretty good, and superior to that of Atherton, Hussain, Stewart, Lamb, and Gatting from previous eras ... and only slightly below Vaughan.

    Morgan's test scores as follows:

    vs Bangladesh: 44, 37
    vs Pakistan: 130, 17, 6, 17, 5, 0

    Average 32.00

    Colly's experience and figures still shade him over Morgan for me.

  • Comment number 40.

    There is no knife edge you imbecile. The highest first innings deficit overturned to win a test match is 180, by India, back in 1980. Australia will not win this match, there is no knife edge, it is not remotely close. Again, you simply refuse to see the evidence regarding Ponting's behaviour. It isn't 2011 yet either.

    Anyway, enough. I enjoy discussing cricket with friendly people on here, you are not a nice person.

  • Comment number 41.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 42.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 43.

    I have always admired Ponting's batting , but have felt for several years that he has pushed the boundaries of debate/dissent over umpiring issues , and rather got away with ...this time he really was bang out of order and I am astonished he is getting off with a token fine.

    When Ian Chappell of all people says he should have been suspended I reckon there really isn't any argument.

    Shame on the match referee...weak.

  • Comment number 44.

    Twenty is fine (so long as we don't get moderated for online betting)

    England to make 50 more (at least, I'd say more). And Oz have to take 5 wickets for that using which bowlers say you?

    Then Oz have to score, what, 575 using which batsmen?

    Then Oz need to take 10 wickets.

    And none of that looks very likely frankly.

  • Comment number 45.

    33. At 12:05pm on 27 Dec 2010, RTFishall wrote:

    Just shows that whilst Australia often excels at sport, they lack one thing, being able to be a "Sport".


    Except for Mike Hussey, who, as "Mr Cricket", is a sport in the same way that Stuart Baggs is a Brand :o)

    Best bit of today was the Barmy Army singing "he's got more runs than you" at the Aussie team when Trott got his hundred. Priceless!

  • Comment number 46.

    another good day for england. the fact we scored under 300 in the day showed we were batting sensibly in general. of course we still need to make sure we win this test and dont have the pressure on us going to sydney next week.
    as for ponting, it seems the whole pressure of being outplayed at home to england is getting to him. its fair to say that years of aussie dominance where they rarely changed the side is catching up with them as several players are not good enough, ponting knows this deep down.

  • Comment number 47.

    #29 You've enjoyed watching Swann fail to what?

  • Comment number 48.

    Its a pity Ponting didn't cop a suspension. Then he would have been easier to replace. Clarke is the only long term option for captaincy.
    It's not as if our shield cricket has anyone scoring heaps of runs to get into the team and the batters apart from Hussey, Watson have been woeful.
    Trott and Prior did really well late in the day to kill off the miracle hopes of the devoted. I'de expect the pitch to deteriate on the last two days and help Swann get a bag of wickets to help win & retain the Ashes.

  • Comment number 49.

    I am not going to respond to one posters comments because to be honest he has totally spoilt this blogs etc with his stupid comments...googled the name and the commonest word that was highlighted was "joke" for Ponting he should have been suspended but glad he has not as it means another failed score in sydney...dead cert wicket..bat for afew hours tomorrow..Prior to get century and the start to rip thru aussie batting line up..loving it

  • Comment number 50.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 51.

    @PSAR You need to look up the word 'specious', as it describes the majority of your comments. Most seem to be peppered with 'facts' that are either (a) demonstrably not so, or (b) have been gleaned from reading the cricket commentary and articles elsewhere on this site.

    You speak with no authority. You write as though you have been brought up on football - a game of infinitely less subtlety and as such a game whose commentators have markedly less patience and elegance. Your interpretations are woefully trivial and embarrassing to read. Collingwood may indeed need some more time in the nets, but your attacks are uncalled-for and disrespectful. Your laughable reference to him having failed to reach double figures in ten of his last twelve innings were, as I said earlier, gleaned from Jonathan Agnew's column elsewhere on the site.

    Your assessment of the game being 'on-a-knife-edge' again depict your facile level of understanding. Though I cannot possibly predict what manner of advice you may heed I can only offer that you read more and type less.

  • Comment number 52.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 53.

    I think we should all send PSAR to Coventry...

  • Comment number 54.

    There was definitely a distinct white hotspot mark on the toe of Pietersen's bat. It was no where near the line of the ball, the ball passed at least 6 inches above it. The mark probably came from the bat hitting the pad or even from KP digging a big hole with his bat before delivery. In the pressure of the moment I probably can understand why he got upset, although with that, he did overact too. Technology was brought in to sort these situations out, you can't complain when it doesn't find in your favour, it is indeed pretty conclusive evidence.

    Remember Ricky its not a conspiracy against you and your team, you just haven't been good enough this time.

  • Comment number 55.

    Wondering if the Aussie selectors privately would have liked to see Ponting suspended for the next game to spare them a tricky decision. If, as seems likely, England win here and retain the Ashes then all that's to play for in Sydney is the pride of a drawn series, they may have found it easier to get themselves up for that under the new Captaincy of Hussey.

  • Comment number 56.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 57.

    Wow what a test match this is turning out to be for England. I think the Ponting incident is the moment he realised England will retain the ashes, pure desperation.

    (Why is everyone reacting to 'papa shango always right'? I don’t think he truly believes in what he is saying, just looking for a reaction)

  • Comment number 58.

    PSAR - sitting naked at your computer with your walls covered in photographs of Paul Collingwood and Graham Swann is no way to go through life mate - you really should get out more ...

  • Comment number 59.

    Whining Aussies. Pietersen may well have thought he edged it, but there was not enough evidence for him to walk. When the technology we have offers nothing then surely there is more than the benefit of the doubt to allow the batsman to stay. I also have to ask why the super slow motion cameras aren't used for line calls. Unless they somehow take too long to process, or are prohibitively expensive, surely it'd make more sense?

    If Stuart Broad were still with the side I'd suggest putting him at 7 and moving Prior up, then playing another bowler. As things stand any replacement will be Eoin Morgan, though I don't think England will drop Collingwood. Adil Rashid might have also been an interesting selection at the traditionally spin-friendly SCG, but for whatever reason didn't even make the performance squad - quite baffling.

  • Comment number 60.

    Read this somewhere earlier - even if Ponting had received a ban, he would've still played in the last Test by appealing against it and delaying the ban process.

  • Comment number 61.

    This is not the first time Ponting has shown to be almighty big loser.

    Gary Pratt will go down in history for his part in the run out that prompted Ponting's rant about England's use of the sub fielder. Despite his sub fielders taking vital catches in the 2005 Ashes.

    Ponting is under massive pressure. It can't be much fun knowing that when you are losing your whole nation bails on you. Whether it was day 5 at the Gabba, Barmy Army in full voice watching Cook amass a massive total, or the swiftly emptying seats on Boxing day.

    Pontings attitude is a direct response to the bad losers that is the Aussie 'fans'. He has extra pressure knowing that his team will be playing in front of empty seats if they don't do well.

    This Ashes has shown the Aussies up to be possibly one of the worst 'supporting' nations I have ever seen. Ponting is a sad reflection of the level of disgust the Aussie fans have for their team when they are failing.

    Disgusting from the Aussie fans - destroyed at home by the Barmy Army.

  • Comment number 62.

    papa shango, would you like to reflect on yout post last night that england would collapse to 260 all out? Im interested to know your thoughts on this. I mean you are only 181 runs and 5 wickets out on your prediction as it stands..

  • Comment number 63.

    Ponting has been fined 40% of his match fee, for me the matter is now closed.

    I can perfectly understand his state of mind- and if I was him or if the England cricket team were in this situation I'd feel exactly the same way. His actions were those of a man who is frustrated, angry and desperate and so I believe they are forgivable.

    This is a poor Australia team, particularly in terms of batting. They still have some talented seamers but they're nowhere near the great Aussie teams of old. Ponting knows this and he knows he'll be gone after Sydney. Then they will have to rebuild.

  • Comment number 64.

    I hate to say this but im a big fan of Collingwood, i think people should remember Cook was the same a few months back and look what he has done in this series. Isnt Collingwood still one of the best fielders we have had for a long time, yes give him some time off but dont drop him completely and Australia have had their time and we have had many ashes series where we have felt the the way they are this series, now its our time and hope it will continue.

  • Comment number 65.

    If you are playing for a place, as for so long many of the test side were doing, you can not concentrate on playing for your team. We now have a winning combination - the resting of Finn was in my vioeww a sensible decision. But don't drop Collingwood, he is almost worth his place for his fielding.
    But for my part, honour will not be completely restored until we avenge that 5-0 drubbing by the Aussies a few years ago. The splash in the mail today is over the top. One swallow......
    Me thinks papa shango is a bit of a plonker!

  • Comment number 66.

    @56: My mistake, (your name was partially) taken in vain.

    So: as a lottery can be won or lost, would you say that each of the two outcomes is 'on a knife edge'? That seems to be the logic you're applying at this stage of the current test match and as such you're displaying a rather shallow grasp of probability there, I'm afraid.

  • Comment number 67.

    Ponting got off lightly
    the fine should have been more and a possible suspension which probably might mean the end of his career

    The game can't have players arguing with the umpire after referring to the TV replay....I thought it was suppose to help ..

    Ponting was out of order..much the same way Rangatunga was years back for arguing with the umpire for no balling Murali

    Once again the ICC are spineless in dealing with umpire abuse.

  • Comment number 68.

    #50 Smith??? Maybe if Monty Panesar were in the side and batting he might have half a chance of taking a wicket.

    If Australia wanted a no.6 who can also bowl spin, they would do better recalling Richie Benaud at the age of 80.

    And knife edge.. hahahaha. Are you watching the same game as everyone else. Sure you haven't got India v South Africa on?

  • Comment number 69.

    Hey, on another note, does anyone know if JL actually gets paid for his "column" - can't get enough of this at the moment and felt short changed by what looks like a few hasty scratches on the back of an MCG ticket...

  • Comment number 70.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 71.

    If the time of day was different I would suspect PSAR is a member of the Australian team, not sure which member, but he is doing a wonderful job of winding everyone up.

    Ignore him.

    And well played England

  • Comment number 72.

    Stange though it may seem, I feel a a bit of sympathy for Ricky Ponting. But only a little bit.

    For Ponting, today must have been like waking up to find that he was playing Bill Murray's part in the movie Groundhog Day. That's why Strauss should not not declare too early. The show must go on. And on. For at least four days, but I'd prefer five.

  • Comment number 73.

    #53 Not even Coventry deserves that

  • Comment number 74.

    Someone's given the Aussies some sound advice. "I had a chat with the guys to make sure we are thinking about how bad it would look on the television if we do it (question umpire's decisions). I have got no problem with the bowlers, especially, wanting to have a chat with the umpire and ask about certain decisions that have been made. But let's just make it one question and one answer and get on with it."

    Who said it? Ah yes, one R.Ponting, January 2006.

    He was a great batsman, but he was also a nasty arrogant little man whose main character trait was an ability to show complete hypocrisy without the slightest hint of apology or embarrassment. Now... well he's just one of them, and when Australia could use a little bit of the famous English ability to retain some dignity in defeat he is dragging his country's sporting reputation into the gutter.

  • Comment number 75.

    I normally like reading what Justin Langer has to say about the cricket, but I suppose whilst odd, it isn't surprising there is no mention whatsoever about the Ponting incident.

    If England can manage it, I'd like to see them add another 100-150 before Australia bat again. Australia would then be in the position of having to bat for 2 1/2 days without the option of declaring to put England back in due to the deficit. If England can bowl well again, I don't see how Australia can have a chance of saving it. As Hussain demonstrated, their two openers don't know how to leave the ball on a consistent basis. They can't help but have a little swipe - Hughes in particular.

  • Comment number 76.

    Three things to say:
    Pontings outburst......hahahahahaha!! he's lost it big time
    Grinding Australia into the deck......again.....hahahahahaha love it
    PSAR......hahahahaha ...... biggest laugh on this site obviously doesn't know much about cricket

  • Comment number 77.

    I wouldn't say Swann has 'failed', I'd suggest that he has been overshadowed by an excellent pace attack on pitches designed for pacemen. That is a good thing about the England attack is that they bowl as a unit, when he has been required, Swann has done the job (probably with the exception of the Brisbane test). I'd expect Australia to make it harder for England in the their second innings. But I don't think their batting line up in it's current state is capable of batting for the two days required to save this test

  • Comment number 78.

    I'm surprised that no one has said it yet - but here goes.

    Pontings behaviour was just not cricket.

    Yes he is frustrated by how the test has been going, and that is understandable as Australia have been hopeless so far. However, that is no justification for the onslaught at the umpires. It was behaviour reminicent of a bunch of footballers surrounding the referee for not giving a penalty. That is the last thing i want to see on the cricket field.

    Ponting should have been suspended, but that being said, at least it means the batting line up will continue weakened for Sydney with him in it.

    This whole affair does show what bad losers the Australians are though.

  • Comment number 79.

    Not really cricket, that, from the Australian captain. More to the point (since I don't actually mind a touch of dissent on the field of play), it wasn't even a wrong decision. Obviously no edge, so I don't see why Ricky got so upset. Most odd. Also a little bit risible.

    Aussies are outclassed - this is clear - but the Ashes are not yet retained because they can still draw the match. Improbable but not completely out of the question. An Australian win, we can pretty much discount. About as likely as a free-flowing Collingwood double ton in Sydney.

    Good support offered by this contest (and the previous one in Perth) for the "Momentum" Theory as regards cricket. Seems that whichever team has it - the momentum - gets stuffed. It means we MUST win this one. If we don't - if they scrape a draw having been outplayed - it'll be 1-1 and as patently proven here the better team by miles, we'll be going into the final test with massive momentum. Spells 2/1 to Australia and bitter bitter disappointment.

    Fingers (and toes and all the rest of it) crossed.

  • Comment number 80.

    And how is it that he only gets a fine . . .and then only 40% of match fee?!

    I've seen players get banned for less than that.

    One rule for the great Ponting; another for lesser mortals.


  • Comment number 81.

    punter to have a couple of overs 1st thing in the morning, take a hat trick and bowl us out for another 10 runs. Hilfenhaus to be promoted to opener as the others aren't doing very well. He will smash a triple hundred with a strike rate of 400, Australia to declare at tea with a lead of 50 odd and then in a big gamble by punter Haddin to take the new ball and end with figures of 9-14 with the other wicket a run out as a new batsman tries to get away from facing Haddin steaming in. It could happen and can't wait to see how this knife edged test pans out

  • Comment number 82.

    I don't normally comment on these forums as it usually full of people who know nothing about what they are talking about but I do read them for a laugh and the biggest laughs I get are reading papa shangos posts and the fact everyone rises to his comments which is just what he wants, the only thing that i can agree with in his posts is that Collingwood should go and probably should have gone a long while ago with Morgan in but I think he will stay to the end of the series as Morgan has no time in the middle.

  • Comment number 83.

    #56 - ' So what you're saying is only 1 side can win this test? When, and this is a fact, all 3 results could still happen. Therefore the knife edge comment is not a mere opinion.... No further facts your honour.'

    I don't have to say who posted it really, do I.

    papa - you would not know a fact if somebody inserted a large one deep within a suitable orifice on your being, which I think many on here would be happy to do. You do not understand the difference between trolling and wind-ups, which to a degree can entertain if done with wit or humour, and simply being a repetitous bore. Either learn how to install some quality into your posts or go and find a site more appropriate for your level of comment - CBBC would be a good place to start.

  • Comment number 84.

    Ponting could always hide behind the likes of Mcgrath, Warne and a batting line up that would destroy any opposition.

    His true spirit rarely came out, nor did that of the Aussie 'fans' who were happy to see win after win.

    Things have changed, and it is blatantly obvious that both Ponting and the fans are being shown up for what they really are.

    Great leaders, or even good leaders can show respect and decency in defeat. Not something Ponting really had to contend with when losing, and in my opinion got wrongly labelled a great captain. In defeat, he had turned out to be frankly one of the most disrespectful, disgraceful, horrible loser of a captain - but strangely epitomises the Australian fans who have walked away in their numbers in defeat.

  • Comment number 85.

    he probably felt he was hard done, but it's got no reason for a captain to act like a Spoilt Bratt so the board should have removed him immediately, as if a fine would hurt more- I doubt it;the sooner Australia move on the better

  • Comment number 86.

    Best part was Pieterson offering to refer his actual "out". Punter was livid.
    As my old man used to say, people in glass houses really shouldn't toss stones...

  • Comment number 87.

    Was this a triumph of mind battles for Pieterson? The "wink" reported and his attitude, was he deliberately winding Ponting up?

  • Comment number 88.

    I guess that the Level 1 offense and fine was a plea bargin. Ponting offered no defence to a lesser offense and apologised, a route taken recently by Stuart Broad to avoid a potential ban. The referee accepted it (banning the home captain for the final Test of a series would be a big call anyway, that probably none of the match officials wanted to see). End of story.

    Let´s face it, if Australia do lose (a salient fact is that only once in 15 innings all tour has a side passed 309 against us, which is a lot less than our current lead), the only reason not to change captain will be to try to save the series at Sydney and the selectors would probably be willing to allow him that opportunity. Ricky Ponting will only have one more Test as captain and probably only one more in the side. It´s not as if he is just starting on a long career.

    Far from being on a knife edge, this is probably the most one-sided match of the series. After just 2 days Australia are already in a situation where scoring 500 in their second innings will not save them. Even if Andrew Strauss were to have a brain storm and declare now, Australia need to get around 600 to have a chance of saving the match; with a long tail and a top order in strife, that looks pretty unlikely on what is proving to be a not unhelpful pitch!

  • Comment number 89.

    Ponting finally realizes his team are rubbish and it showed in that confrontation. If Australia want to win cricket matches why not make a cricket league of tests. Whereby you have the top league of the top 5 ranked test teams and the bottom 5. Australia can go into the bottom half where they actually might win a series

    Now for England to finish of these pathetic excuses for cricketers.

  • Comment number 90.

    Can England really pick Collingwood on his fielding alone?

    Hes had a couple of memorable knocks in his ashes career, a fantastic 206 in Adelaide in 2006 being his best (a match England somehow managed to lose) and his superb rear guard action in Swansea 2009, but those two innings aside his ashes batting average is 20, and although he´s handy to have as a back up bowler, he hardly puts the fear into batsman with just 2 wickets at an average of 90. He`s obviously popular in the dressing room and good to have around when your backs are against the wall, but surely the time has come to give Morgan a chance..

    Collingwoods ashes career

    Batting: 780 runs, 26 innings at an average of 29

    Bowling: 52 overs, 2 wickets for 181 runs R/R 3.4

  • Comment number 91.

    84. At 1:16pm on 27 Dec 2010, Tinoflyer wrote:
    Ponting could always hide behind the likes of Mcgrath, Warne and a batting line up that would destroy any opposition.

    His true spirit rarely came out, nor did that of the Aussie 'fans' who were happy to see win after win.

    Things have changed, and it is blatantly obvious that both Ponting and the fans are being shown up for what they really are.

    Great leaders, or even good leaders can show respect and decency in defeat. Not something Ponting really had to contend with when losing, and in my opinion got wrongly labelled a great captain. In defeat, he had turned out to be frankly one of the most disrespectful, disgraceful, horrible loser of a captain - but strangely epitomises the Australian fans who have walked away in their numbers in defeat.


    I think that post is unfair- and I speak as an England cricket fan. I think Ponting is a good captain and has been an important part of Australia's success over the last few years, even while the 'greats' have been retiring around him. If you talk to any of his former team mates or current team mates they all respect Ricky Ponting. People in cricket universally respect him and have time for him. Yes he was out of order but I don't think it's fair whatsoever to say all that about him just because he lost it over the incident and his team is struggling. Previous England captains have done far worse than what Ponting did.

  • Comment number 92.

    Just possibly Aleem Dar was motivated to refer MJ no-ball because of all the grief he had had to suffer from Ricky P earlier - if so then Ricky and Australia has all the punishment and more for Prior's correct reprieve.
    Alternatively - or even additionally - Aleem Dar is just a very good umpire!!!

  • Comment number 93.

    "He has been found guilty of breaching the ICC Code of Conduct six times in his Test career - four of those for showing dissent - and been forced to pay more than Aus $25,000 in fines for bad behaviour. Under his leadership, the Australian team has been hit with 18 separate code-of-conduct breaches."

    !!! I had not realised Ponting's overall disciplinary record was as bad as that! It is still desperately sad to watch a person breaking down like this, but I suppose it is the flip side of one of the reasons we love Test Match Cricket - no other sport I know of is such a detailed and lengthy examination of character.

    Sledging and WUMming. They have much in common. In my opinion, both require wit and humour, or they are just abuse and despicable. Both also require support or response. Although I signally fail to live up to it, the best advice I've heard on the matter is: Please Do Not Feed the Troll.

  • Comment number 94.

    For all that Ponting is a hard player, he is just a bad loser, and there's a difference between being a bad loser and not liking losing. Nobody likes losing, but when your team mates disintegrate around you and your own form collapses and then you're comprehensively outplayed by superior opposition, the worst thing you can do is throw complete strops, because then the whole world knows you've totally lost it. Let's face it, for years Australia have been happy to indulge in sledging and using any tactic whatsoever to unsettle and get batsmen out, including fourth slip and gully (with their perfect view of the ball's line) appealing for LBWs. These cancers have spread throughout world cricket and the blame lies at Australia's door. And Australia are now showing us that they can dish it out but they can't take it.

  • Comment number 95.

    @ 59 - An average test match covered by SKY in England will have 5 super slo cameras - one at each end behind the bowlers arm for 'spin vision', one at each end at pitch level for reverse slips angle and another at mid-wicket boundary.

    They are expensive but, further, also require more VT (EVS) machine inputs to record them as they will use three inputs per super slo camera (one for each phase...)to a replay machine compared to a standard camera only requiring one input - so the cost rises even further.

    So, the cost of four more super slo cameras PLUS another four EVS machines to replay them is way outside your average Outside Broadcast budget and the host cricket board would be reluctant to meet this cost too!

    Hope that helps.

  • Comment number 96.

    Ponting's behaviour was a disgrace. Ask any genuine Australian cricket fan. Also ask them about the team, the selectors and the complete structure. You won't find many compliments. Please, let me stress cricket fans here in the true sense of the meaning.

    No one wants to lose, but for many Australian fans, this represents a very good time to execute 'root and branch' reform of the whole system over here. Not just the team, but the entire structure. When you get the CEO of Cricket Australia on national radio saying that things are fine and we will come good, you can really appreciate the disconnect with the 'system' and the rest of the game in the country. The players who can't/won't get a game despite the failures.

    The press and public have been merciless on Ponting, the side and selectors as they have been feed a diet of winning for nearly 3 decades. England have a very good side, and one that potentially is great (I say this with gritted teeth FFS!). But seriously, you have had such a shocking run in terms of success that winning hasn't become a culture like it has here. And in a nut shell that is it. Winning as a culture.

    There have been many posts bagging us for only knowing winning and not sport. With all due respect, sport is about winning. If you are happy to lose, then you just don't get it. Maybe perhaps, now England have a good team that you can get used to winning, then it will seem natural when you have don't it enough. It's not so fun when it doesn't happen. Multiply that by 20 years, and no wonder. In terms of other sports, it's the same. Per capital, we really do excell at a lot of sports, and have done for many years. It's an easy thing to get used to. This isn't an Australian problem, its a human trait. Maybe you England fans might experience it with the side you have.

    This of course does not excuse boorish and unsportsman-like behaviour that the Australian cricket side has been guily of in the past. The media and public here is quick to turn because of this. It's not a popular side to the average person.

    At any rate. You lot are giving us a bath as it is, and until there are big changes, there won't be the start of it being turned around. But sport moves in cycles and always has done. We had a super-cycle, which was probably once in a generation (just like our economy I suppose), and maybe now we are back to a more normal thing where sides dominate for a couple of series and then the wheel turns.

  • Comment number 97.

    Aussies shouldn't be surprised their batsmen are all getting out caught in droves, it's a genetic thing.

    If most of their acncestors hadn't been caught out they would never have been sent there in the first place ;-)

  • Comment number 98.

    Knife-edge, definition: a decisive and precarious point at which a situation is finely balanced between different possibilities or outcomes.

    Ok so one team has a first innings lead of 350ish with 5 wickets left, with loads of time to bowl the other team out a second time and bat again if needed. In what universe is this game on a knife edge?

    Am I right in thinking that bookies tend to make money?. They understand probability and I expect if this game were on a knife edge the odds of the 3 results would be pretty close. Lets see..... oh that's a suprise then.... (there may be sarcasm here)

    England to win (aussie bookies) $1.18
    Draw $7.80
    Australia to win $40.00

    Ok I'm confused now. I thought I understood odds....

  • Comment number 99.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 100.

    The Ponting rant just goes to show that he is disintigrating mentally. Australia have had a policy over the years of dropping the captain once he has been relieved of the captaincy. He is probably seeing the end of his career and doesn't know what he's going to be doing with himself in a few weeks time. His actions should not be tolerated and the ICC should seriously look at the way Rugby Union deals with that sort of situation. His lame apology and mock contrition after the days play should not have been swallowed by the match officials. He should have been fined his entire match fee and then have been banned for the last test and at least the first 3 of the 1 - Day Internationals coming up.

    I also think it's down to the fact that the sledging by the Australians hasn't worked on England. Why Mitchell Johnson (surely the worst bowler to wear the Baggy Green since the Packer era) continues to chirp and snipe when he shows himself up to be nothing more than a 90 mph pie chucker is quite beyond me. I'm not a fan of sledging - play hard by all means, but some of the language used wouldn't be tolerated in other working environments, so why should it be tolerated on the field of play. I also hope that Johnson pays Haddin a portion of his match fee as some of his deliveries have been so wide it hasn't given Haddin a chance to prevent the extras being conceded.

    Steve Waugh was heard in the 2002/3 Ashes tour making the point that it would have been nice to have had a challenge as Hussein's side was rolled over rather meekly 3 - 1. I'm beginning to think the same of the Aussies. Surely this can't be the best they have to field. This isn't a side in transition, it's a team in terminal decline and one that will be scrapping with the West Indies, Pakistan and Bangladesh to avoid the wooden spoon of Test Playing Nations in the rankings.

    I'd love to know what PSAR has been inhaling when he claims that all 3 reults are still possible. Firstly there are 4 possible results - A win for either side, the draw and the tie. Australia cannot win this game - their bowling is at best ordinary, the batting has been reliant upon 2 men Hussey and Haddin with the odd 50 by Watson, Ponting and Clarke. How anyone can think that Australia can actually get out of this mess they themselves have gotten in to with something more than a fortuitous draw (which will require the intervention of the weather as well to assist them) beggars belief.

    Whilst it might be a fact that a win could still be on the card for the Aussies, the reality is that - barring an Act of God - they're heading for another humiliating and ignominious defeat. This will ensure Ponting's place in history as a captain who would have failed in 3 series to have won the Ashes. He might be a great batsman but as a captain who has needed to set an example both on and off the field he has shown himself time and time again to be lacking in tactical nous and any sort of respect for the officials and opposition.


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