England substitutes ploy 'is a disgrace' says Ponting

Australia's captain, who feels England are manipulating the laws so that they have lively fielders deputising for tired bowlers, directed a furious outburst at the home dressing-room after being dismissed by the substitute Gary Pratt's throw in the at Trent Bridge, and was fined 75 per cent of his fee by the match referee Ranjan Madugalle.

Ponting, however, is unwilling to let the matter lie and has admitted that it has his normally unflappable team rattled. "It is an absolute disgrace the spirit of the game is being treated like that," Ponting said in a radio interview after the game. "It is within the rules, it's just not within the spirit of the game which we are trying to uphold. [The England coach Duncan] Fletcher has known all through the summer this is something we haven't been happy with, but it's continued. He knows it's got under our skins and I've had enough of it, and I let him know that, and most of his players too."

After going 2-1 down with just next week's Oval Test to go, Ponting admitted Australia have to improve quickly if they are to save the Ashes. "There's no option now," he said. "If the guys can't get up for a game like the one we've got coming up, then they shouldn't be playing. Simple as that."

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