Ponting in more trouble with over-rates
At the end of the first Test Ricky Ponting felt Australia did "a pretty good job" of staying in touch with the over-rate, but the team has been fined for the second game in a row by the match referee Chris Broad. Ponting was docked 30% of his match fee of A$12,750, double the punishment of his team-mates, for being three behind during the 149-run victory over New Zealand that ended on the fourth morning.
The Australians adopted new measures in a bid to decrease the amount of time wasted in the field, but despite dismissing New Zealand for less than 200 in both innings, they could not stay within the limits after picking four fast bowlers. "We did a pretty good job this week, we were minus 2.75 down going into the second innings, and if anything we lost a quarter of an over," Ponting said at the end of the Test.
Ponting said the players "tried really hard" during the match to keep with up with the rate, but even with the increased attention on the issue it did not help them. Hats were left at fine-leg, Michael Hussey was used at times as a cap courier and they insisted they were hurrying between overs.
The upshot was the team was one more over down than during the fourth Test in Nagpur, where Ponting was criticised for using part-time bowlers at a crucial stage of the game. In the lead-up to the Gabba Ponting was still unhappy with the response from the former captains Allan Border and Ian Chappell.
"We tried really hard this game," Ponting said. "I didn't address the guys before the game. If they didn't know about it, with all the talk, they never would have."
The situation will be slightly easier in Adelaide when the offspinner Jason Krejza comes back in to the XI for his second match, although he was also involved during the troubles in the fourth Test in India. "I'm never happy when I'm behind," Ponting said. "We tried our hardest right through the game and without having a specialist spinner in the side, you find it hard to remain level par."
Australia employed an observer to measure how the team used its time on the field in comparison with New Zealand, who have no trouble with keeping up with the over-rate. "We just have a rhythm of how we go about it," the coach John Bracewell said. "Guys know that they're going to be bowling."
Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo