England v Australia, 2nd npower Test, Lord's, 5th day

We can regroup - Ponting

Peter English at Lord's

July 20, 2009

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Ricky Ponting reflects on his drop catch, England v Australia, 2nd Test, Lord's, 3rd day, July 18, 2009
'If you look at this game, they grabbed the momentum on day one, ran with it, and we found it hard to wrest it back' © PA Photos
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Ricky Ponting has blamed "fundamental skill errors" for Australia's second Test defeat but remains convinced his side can be patched up in time to hit back at Edgbaston next week. While Mitchell Johnson's bowling was the biggest concern of the 115-run loss, there are also serious worries over the opener Phillip Hughes and the decisions of the batsmen.

Australia were behind from the opening session, which began with Johnson spraying the ball, and were out of the match when they fell for 215 in their first innings amid a flurry of cross-batted dismissals. Michael Clarke improved their position in the second bat with 136 after the side dropped to 128 for 5 in their impossible victory pursuit of 522.

"There are fundamental skill errors that we have made in this game," Ponting said. "I'm not just talking about the bowling. We didn't bat very well either in our first innings. Two hundred-odd on that wicket was a long way short of what we needed to get.

"The first two days was where the game was decided. I was pretty happy with the way we stuck at things for the remainder of the game. It's just little skill errors that have cost us big time." Australia play a three-day match against Northamptonshire on Friday before the third Test in Birmingham starts on July 30.

Despite being 1-0 down after two fixtures, Ponting is certain his men can re-group and believes both teams are evenly matched. Australia dominated much of the opening game in Cardiff, which now feels as far away as 2005, but England quickly built on their thrilling draw to take a strong advantage.

"It's grabbing the momentum when you can and running with it for as long as you can that's going to decide this series," Ponting said. "If you look at this game, they grabbed the momentum on day one, ran with it, and we found it hard to wrest it back.

"A lot of Test matches are won with what happens in the first hour's play. We were a fair bit off at the start of this game and we have to make sure we're a whole lot better when we start the third one."

Ponting spoke calmly after the match and managed to laugh at his treatment from the usually polite Lord's crowd. They jeered him throughout the contest, starting with his dispute of an incorrect caught-behind dismissal on the second day and continuing when he missed a run-out of Kevin Pietersen and a catch off Ravi Bopara in England's second innings.

"They seemed to take great pleasure in me dropping that," Ponting said. He counted 15 big-screen replays of the drop in two overs.

"I got my first clap as I got off the stage from my post-game interview on the ground," he said. "It took me cracking a joke to get a laugh out of them. I'm not sure what all the animosity was there." He promised not to lose any sleep over the response, which comes from his spirit of the game pronouncements, treatment of umpires and gritty on-field behaviour. He is also Australia's most talented and recognisable player.

Clarke sat next to his captain and said his century became "irrelevant" with the defeat. He wished the performance had come in the first innings instead, when he flicked James Anderson to midwicket on 1.

"Our goal is to win the game," Clarke said. "I thought we played pretty well last night but it's irrelevant now because we didn't get the result we were after. We knew we had a big job to do today, especially in the first session, but unfortunately we didn't get the result. I think we can still take some confidence out of the way we performed with the bat in the second innings."

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by CharonTFm on (July 22, 2009, 23:44 GMT)

The main difference here is that Aus did not cry foul when the umpiring decisions were bad, the Aus team accepted it. The indians did not.

Now back to the cricket, it was a brilliant match and not too far off the 05 Series. England had played better in Lords and all Australian Supporters know that, and Aus themselves know that. That is why no excuses were made, the fault lie squarely on the Aus team, with each member needing to lift their game.

The only way to make the game better is to remove dubious decisions. Every sports person in the world hates umpires because they feel it is them who have gave the game away. People should cut them some slack and let the technology catch up. However I hope the outcry of the world has shown ICC that technology is needed in the umpiring and that the third umpire has to step in when something is not right. As Rudi has said in his interview, no umpires like to make the wrong decision and any technology will help.

Posted by whits106 on (July 22, 2009, 13:36 GMT)

bombersimon: I'm not sure if you were referring to my comment at all in your post. But I would like to clarify anyway. I'm Australian, and yes, there were "contentious calls", however I'd say that only the only clear cut incorrect decision was Ponting being given out caught, when he should have been given out LBW. Strauss depends which side of the fence you sit on, I say not out, but alot of people will say out. Either way you're definately correct in stating the truth about "spirit of the game" in relation to India and the way they reacted when in Australia - Although I don't particularly agree with your bashing of England. Strauss believe's he caught it, and the umpires agreed- How do you know if he was blatantly lying? The time wasting - any team, including our great Australia, would have done the same thing! And as for the substitute fielders, Flintoff and Onions were injured I believe and required physio work. As I stated earlier, we all need to get back on the topic of thearticle

Posted by bombersimon on (July 22, 2009, 10:26 GMT)

Thanks Hedders99. You make a lot of sense. It's curious how so many folks are arguing that Australians are whining about the umpiring and blaming them for our loss. I see little evidence for that claim among the posts. Indeed, almost all Australia supporters, myself included, acknowledge England played a better brand of cricket throughout the match and deserve their victory. However, there is no doubt the umpiring was sub-standard (and, no, this is not the first time, and, yes, Australia got the rub against India in Sydney) and that the decisions rather sucked the air from the Australian batting effort. After the loss, Ponting said, what's happened has happened and we move on. In Sydney, India sat in their hotel and made noises about going home. Which approach contributes more to the spirit of cricket? Any suggestion that either India or England have done more for the spirit of the game is one I wish to refute. Strauss's 'catch', time wasting in Cardiff, substitute fielders....

Posted by observer67 on (July 22, 2009, 5:25 GMT)

The current Aussie cricket team is just like the pathetic school bully, who just realized his classmates have outgrown him and cries foul when paid back with his own coin.

Posted by harry93 on (July 21, 2009, 21:15 GMT)

The WI teams of the 70's & 80's r much loved all around the world? This may be an effect of time.

I grew up in Oz during this period of WI dominance & I hated them! Not because of any unsportsman-like behaviour, but because they were too good! Now because they're no longer a world force I look back on those teams fondly. I expect the same will happen with these Aussie teams.

So the WIs were gentlemen, how can you compare two totally different eras? Everything has changed since then. Movies, music, TV etc. r all a little more rough. What's acceptable has changed. If you want to make that argument then every team nowadays (and the WI teams of the past) would be considered unsportsman-like compared to, say, the WG Grace-led English teams of the late 1800's.

I'm sure if they had stump mics in the 80's you'd have heard all sorts of stuff from the WI and, if they had web forums, likewise you would have heard the same garbage from opposing teams' fans as you do now about the Aussies.

Posted by harry93 on (July 21, 2009, 20:53 GMT)

Does anyone even remember Cardiff? England were a wicket away from an almost innings defeat. They were the same two teams that played at Lord's, right? Teams have good Tests and bad Tests, just like players.

Posted by Hedders99 on (July 21, 2009, 15:27 GMT)

Well done England- you deserved to win the match. However, I'm surprised and saddened by the number of posts from people who are still describing the Australians as bad sports that deserve all this "karma" etc. It's one thing to praise the victors, but to me, the people who say they enjoy seeing Australia lose are in no position to speak of good sportsmanship- these are hardly honourable comments. Many such comments have come from a country that actually burned effigies of umpires in 2007. I don't understand this level of hatred, and I'm kind of glad. Sure, some comments have been made about the umpiring at Lords, but no one has taken to the streets of Australia with Rudi or Doctrove ablaze. Can we put things into perspective?

Posted by miyer_cricinfo on (July 21, 2009, 12:48 GMT)

When England declared, I was not sure it was the right juncture, since Australia has just scored over 600 runs in the Cardiff Test, and their batting line-up is not to be taken lightly. When the first 5 wickets fell cheaply, I stood corrected. Then, when Clarke and Haddin scored so freely and heavily and brought Australia conceivably within reach of the target, a small voice in my heart tooted "I told you so, England", but another -- saner? -- voice said, "Let us see what happens tomorrow. Just because I want to be proven right, I should not wish that England loses. May the best team win". And what a day and game it proved! Flintoff was like a man possessed, with Anderson and Swann contiributing significantly to the Australian batsmen's misery at the crease. Amazingly interesting games thus far in the Ashes. By the way, there are no saintly teams around. So, let us not get our undies in a bunch arguing about the spirit of the game. Pot, kettle .. all the same hue.

Posted by whits106 on (July 21, 2009, 12:38 GMT)

I've noticed alot of people complaining about "suspect decisions" on the part of the umpires.

I remember a test match against India in Sydney a few years ago, where Australia had the rub of the green and the call's going their way during that match.

What goes around comes around. England outplayed Australia and were lucky to even be a chance to win the match in the end as I believe Strauss declard too early (however his decision has now been vindicated).

I'm an Australian, and was disappointed with the decision, but we deserved to lose anyway. Just like we deserved a draw for failing to bowl england out in the first match.

If people want to drop the umpires, why not drop players like Johnson or Hussey. Yes, Hussey got a 50 and Johnson got wickets, but they have both been terrible.

And to be honest, as an Aussie, I was fine with all the decisions the umpires made.

We need to get back to what this article is about: England had supremecy for 5 days of test cricket.

Posted by Sriram_Krishnamurthy on (July 21, 2009, 12:16 GMT)

Just to respond to bombersimon, India did not threaten to call of the series because of the loss of three wickets in one over, but because Andrew Symonds was allowed to bat three times and Saurav and Dravid were not allowed to even complete their one innings. The 'sporting oz vice captain' pup took a grounded catch and ricky behaved like an umpire and handed the decision over to Saurav. Also, no one knows what happened between Bhajji and Roy. If Ozs believe Roy didnt do a thing wrong, we Indians are entitled to believe Bhajji was right in his place. Steve Waugh's Ozs commanded a lot of respect across the globe thanks to Steve Waugh and Shane Warne - tough guys but never crossed the line on the field. Ricky had always been on the other side of the line and thats precisely the reason why the whole world except the Ozs celebrate when the Ozs lose.

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