Anderson says Ponting let England off the hook

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Cardiff (Wales), July 13 (ANI): Batting hero Jimmy Anderson on Sunday claimed that Australian captain Ricky Ponting took his fingers off England's throat by bowling part-time spinner Marcus North in the dramatic final overs at Cardiff.

As England held out for a controversial draw, Ponting tossed the ball to North for two of the final four overs.

Off-spinner Nathan Hauritz was bowling at the other end at a time when Australia's pacers had been far more threatening to the last batting pair of Anderson and Monty Panesar.

"Certainly when they put Marcus North on I thought we had a great chance, them putting a part time spinner on," The Daily Telegraph quoted Anderson, as saying.

"I thought, we've got a good chance here because Monty was playing it very well, we were communicating well together," he added.

Ponting, however, vigorously defended the use of his spinners, saying time was running out and Australia needed to bowl as many deliveries as possible at England's last pair.

"Look, we were running a bit short of time. Once they forged that last partnership, we needed to get as many balls into their batsmen as possible. A few other minutes being taken up by other things. Two left-handers being in, two off spinners being on, I thought we could create some chances," Ponting said.

England skipper Andrew Strauss refused to publicly savage Ponting for the spin ploy, but claimed the tailenders would have found spearhead pacer Mitchell Johnson more difficult to face.

"I could understand what he was doing, but personally I thought Mitchell Johnson would have been harder for these two to face," Strauss said.

"Each captain sees things differently, I suppose. It's a difficult situation when you're trying to rush through overs when you get to the back end of the game there," he said.

"The reality was that it was a very flat wicket and it was difficult to prise people out, especially if they showed application, which the second half of our order did," Strauss said. (ANI)

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