Have to say I have some sympathy with Ricky Ponting over his complaints about England’s time wasting tactics in the last hour at Cardiff.If only because the whole ‘substitute running on the field five minutes after being on before’ ruse was pretty lame – and the excuse from Andrew Strauss was too, so pathetic in fact that you started to think it might actually be true under the 'conspiracy or cock-up' theory.
What’s wrong with a cramp, something in the eye or a missing contact lens?
It’s hard to take lectures on the ‘spirit of the game’ from Australia though. People in glasshouses, and all that...
For a supposedly excellent fielding side, the number of times Adam Gilchrist had to run down the pitch to gather in errant throws from the outfield, thus roughening up the pitch for Shane Warne bowling from the other end, was ever so slightly suspicious for example.
You could also throw the McGrath/Sarwan and Symonds/ Harbajhan handbags into the equation too.
In any event, the time wasting was probably unnecessary. Anderson and Monty looked remarkably comfortable during those last eight overs or so. The fact that most of them were bowled by a knackered off-spinner and a part time one probably helped. Speaking as a tail-ender myself, I can vouch for the fact that what is most unsettling to a non-batsman playing out time is raw pace – regardless of how slow the pitch is. Why Siddle wasn’t bowling at the batsman’s ribs with two men at short leg beats me.