Ponting persisted part-timers for too long: Test greats

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Perth, Jan 19 (UNI) As Ricky Ponting and his men fight against team India to put down their names in the record books for the 17th consecutive win, the Aussie captain has again come under severe criticism from former Test greats for bowling part-timers in extended spells.

To speed up the over-rate, Ponting bowled Michael Clarke and Andrew Symonds for fairly long spells while Brett Lee was given only two overs in second day's crucial post-lunch session, with India reeling at 160 for six.

Former Test captain Mark Taylor was crtical against Ponting for overusing his part-timers, who sent down 23 overs between them.

''It's a worry for me. Clarke and Symonds have bowled heaps of overs between them,'' Taylor said.

''I think they've got to bowl (Shaun) Tait. He was picked in the side to be a wicket-taker for this situation.'' However, Australian coach Tim Nielsen defended Ponting's decision saying the capatain was in danger of facing suspension had he not sped up the over-rate.

''If your team gets six overs down, there is the opportunity for the captain to be suspended,'' Nielsen said.

''We needed to make sure Ricky wasn't under pressure as a captain and be six or seven overs behind at the end of the innings and get in some real strife.

''It was a difficult situation for us in that we were well behind in our overs and we needed to catch some up. It was just silly how far behind we had got. It really did put some pressure on us.

''We would have liked to have bowled the fast bowlers in different periods,'' he added.

Former Test opener Justin Langer was also surprised by Ponting's tactics of bowling the part-timers.

India's second inning's star VVS Laxman said Ponting's ploy had backfired.

''Ricky Ponting must be having some sort of strategy, but it didn't come off,'' Laxman said.

''They will be under a lot of pressure tomorrow,'' he added.

Laxman went to make an impressive 72 in the second innings and prospered against part time bowlers.

Former Australian skipper Kim Hughes too was disturbed with Australia's new approach and said that the team should return to it's ruthless approach.

''It's time we stopped apologising for being Australian,'' Hughes said.

''I didn't see anything wrong with it (Australia's behaviour in the Sydney Test).

''I must have been watching a different match to everyone else,'' he added.

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