Criticism of Ponting rubbish: Gilchrist - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Criticism of Ponting rubbish: Gilchrist

By Greg Buckle 22/12/2005 07:28:11 PM Comments (0)

Adam Gilchrist says it is "rubbish" to suggest skipper Ricky Ponting took too long to make a declaration during the first Test against South Africa, which ended in a draw on Tuesday at the WACA.

Australian vice-captain Gilchrist said Ponting would have every reason to feel "offended" by some of the comments that had been flying around this week.

Roundly criticised for setting the tourists a world record 491 to win, Ponting failed to get the victory that appeared likely after South Africa was 2-85 at stumps on the fourth day's play.

South Africa finished on 5-287 with Jacques Rudolph batting for more than a day's play for his 102 not out in 431 minutes.

Ponting's declaration was delayed in the middle session of the fourth day's play to allow Victorian Brad Hodge to turn his maiden century into 203 not out.

Asked if he was comfortable with the timing of Ponting's declaration, which gave Australia 126 overs to bowl out South Africa on a flat WACA pitch, Gilchrist said: "Absolutely.

"I'm very, very surprised by this rubbish around, this scrutiny of Ricky again, I really am," Gilchrist said.

"Teams will always get a little bit prickly when there's criticism, but I think it's totally unwarranted and I'm really surprised at that criticism, particularly by people who've been around the game a long time."

Gilchrist said it was easy for people to be wise after the event.

"Two for 85 on that wicket ... I heard the term arrogance used, or read that somewhere, I'm just really surprised by that and I would think Ricky would have every reason to be a bit offended by that," Gilchrist said.

"I don't think he will be, I think he'll just get on (with it). He's got the absolute, total support of the team and as I say, I'm just really surprised by that criticism.

"We had every chance to win that game and South Africa were good enough to keep us out."

Ponting, 31, is a second-year captain and has already gone down in history as the skipper who lost the Ashes for Australia, 16 years after Allan Border's side regained them in 1989.

The Tasmanian's decision to bowl first on a flat wicket at Edgbaston after losing key paceman Glenn McGrath to injury in the warm-up was a crucial one in the 2-1 series loss, with England making 407 in its first innings and winning by the second Test by two runs.

Gilchrist admits South Africa will have increased confidence going into Monday's second Test in Melbourne.

"A big lift. They'll come here confident that they can bat for long periods of times against us, which a lot of teams haven't been able to do over the years," Gilchrist said.

Hodge and national selector Merv Hughes strongly defended Ponting's declaration.

Hodge said he felt four sessions was enough time to get 10 wickets.

"But unfortunately on that given day South Africa did play very well. The timing of the declaration was pretty much spot on," Hodge said.

"I don't think 10 minutes here or there would have made any difference at all. I don't think my personal milestone really ate into the team's time at all.

"I didn't really think Ricky deserved that sort of criticism. I don't think it took any gloss off it, but it would have been nice to celebrate the 200 with a victory."

Hughes said a lot of people were "having a go" at the Australian team but Ponting's side had fought hard.

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