Ponting suffering as pressure takes its toll

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The Independent Online

Michael Vaughan has pushed the law relating to the use of substitutes to the limit, but at the time Simon Jones was off the field with a genuine injury, and England were therefore entitled to field a substitute. Ponting's ire comes from the fact Vaughan's bowlers have constantly been leaving the field ever since his team arrived in this country. Duncan Fletcher, the England coach, has said it is because they need the toilet, but there is nothing a fast bowler enjoys more than changing out of sweaty kit, having a shower and putting his feet up for 10 or 15 minutes after a spell of bowling.

There is nothing new about the tactic - in hot climates I was guilty of using it on several occasions - but it is viewed by Australians as being against the spirit of the game. Controlling it is impossible for the umpires, and it probably needs the ICC to amend the laws so that a bowler cannot bowl for a considerable period of time should he be off the field for more than 10 minutes.

The England fielders were the first to be hit by a tirade of abuse from the Australian captain as he waited for the third umpire to judge whether he had made his ground, after being called for a quick single by Damien Martyn. Once the OUT sign had appeared on the huge television screen at Trent Bridge, Ponting then gave the umpires a piece of his mind. They, after all, had been the individuals who have allowed England to behave in such a way.

But rather than calm down as he left the ground Ponting became even more incensed, and he aimed another four-letter outburst at the England dressing room as he entered the Pavilion. Realising the error of his ways, Ponting immediately issued a statement of regret, no doubt in the hope it will allow him to escape a charge of dissent at the conclusion of the game.

It read: "I'm disappointed with my dismissal given that it was at a crucial stage of the game and I had worked very hard to get to that position. I no doubt let myself down with my reaction and for that I apologise to those who see me as a role model. My frustration at getting out was compounded by the fact that I was run out by a substitute fielder, an issue that has concerned us throughout this series."