'Disappointing' Tait controversy spurred us - Ponting
Ricky Ponting has dismissed the fracas surrounding Shaun Tait's action as "absolute rubbish" and called New Zealand's insinuations "a bit disappointing". But he admitted the situation motivated Australia to victory in the Chappell-Hadlee Series opener in Adelaide on Friday.
"It seems to be their opinion," Ponting said. "To air it publicly is a bit disappointing I suppose, but what can you do? It probably just makes us a bit hungrier to go out there and play some good cricket against them."
He said he can't see anything wrong in Tait's action, which hasn't been questioned before, and wasn't reported to the match referee after the Twenty20 match on Tuesday. "He's got my full support, it all looks pretty good to me," Ponting said. "I think everyone handled it well and Shaun especially. When things like that come up that are absolute rubbish you dismiss them."
Ponting himself contributed a chanceless century in the seven-wicket win on Friday, while Tait took three wickets, including a crucial double-strike which punctured New Zealand's momentum and left them 30 runs short of a par score.
Daniel Vettori clarified his position after saying on Thursday, "You ask Braces [coach John Bracewell]" that one", when asked if he had an issue with Tait's action. "I never meant to insinuate that he was a chucker," Vettori said after the match. "There is a process in place if you feel a bowler has an illegal action and obviously we haven't gone through that process."
Although New Zealand came up short on a flat track, Brendon McCullum's 96 to push them past 250 gave them a psychological boost. "It certainly helps," Vettori said. "We were obviously coming in off question marks about whether we could play pace or not. I'd like to think we answered that."
There are few question marks surrounding Australia's continued dominance and they are now one step closer to regaining the trophy from New Zealand's clutches. The visitors have to win on Sunday in Sydney to stay in the series.
Jenny Thompson is an assistant editor at Cricinfo