Ricky Ponting faces disciplinary action from match referee Ranjan Madugalle for how he reacted when he was run out by substitute fielder Gary Pratt's direct hit on the third day. He is to appear before Madugalle after stumps on Sunday.
Ponting, who made 48, was called for a tight single by Damien Martyn, and Pratt, fielding for the hospitalised Simon Jones, threw down the stumps from cover with Ponting six inches short of safety. As he waited for the third umpire's decision, Ponting was seen having an animated discussion with Aleem Dar, the square-leg umpire, and he also exchanged words with some of the fielders as he left the field as well as aiming comments towards the England dressing room.
"I was disappointed with my dismissal given that it was a crucial stage of the game and I'd worked hard to get to that position," Ponting said in a statement. "I let myself down with my reaction and for that I apologise to those who see me as a role model.
"My frustration at getting out was compounded by the fact that I was run out by a substitute fielder, an issue that has concerned us from the start of this series and one we raised before the series." Australia have been concerned about England's use of substitute fielders since the NatWest Series, arguing that it is a way of giving the home side's fast bowlers a rest. Substitutes are only generally allowed if players are ill or injured but, according to the Laws of Cricket, it is the umpires alone who have the responsibility for letting substitutes take the field and the opposing captain has no right of appeal.
Some reports claimed that Duncan Fletcher, who was on the England balcony when Ponting returned, was the target of comments . "I don't know what he said, I haven't spoken to my players about it but there's always some sort of chat out there," Fletcher shrugged. "I don't say 'hold on what are you talking to the Aussies about?'. I saw him mumble something but I don't know what he said."
As for complaints about the use of substitutes, Fletcher was dismissive. "Simon Jones was off and I don't think we could have gone on with 10 men. It was very important we put a 12th man on to replace him. The guys go off to excuse themselves - nature calls and they're replaced for an over. That's the way it goes. You want to take a run to a cover fielder and get run out, whose fault is that?"