Former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting said that he was surprised with the kind of tactics England employed on the fourth Test of the ongoing Ashes.
His remarks came after the close of play on day four of the fourth Test.
"I was extremely surprised at England's tactics after tea. To not start with one of Archer or Broad for me was staggering. I think the most important phase of play for England was the first hour after tea and they decided to go with Overton and Leach, and I know Overton only bowled three overs but it just seemed to quieten the whole crowd down and it gave Smith a chance to get in and get settled and start again," cricket.com.au quoted Ponting as saying.
With the lead of 196 runs, Australia was in a spot of bother at 44/4 in the second innings, but England chose not to bowl Stuart Broad and Jofra Archer immediately after the tea break and this allowed Steve Smith to get his eye in to take Aussies to a position of safety.
Smith eventually got dismissed after playing a knock of 82 runs, but his stint with the bat enabled the team from Down Under to post declare at 186/6, setting England a target of 383.
"They will have their reasons, but it seemed as though they wanted Archer and Broad to bowl late in the session and slow the game down. I think they bowled six overs in 40 minutes. You would have to say it is unacceptable to bowl seven-minute overs," Ponting said.
England was able to win the third Test after the heroics of all-rounder Ben Stokes. He played a knock of 135 runs to help the Three Lions register a win by one-wicket.
However, Ponting says the task in the ongoing Test will be a difficult as the pitch conditions are very different. It's a completely different set of circumstances," Ponting said.
"Headingley, that wicket actually got better and better. It finished middle of day four, did not even get into the fifth day. This pitch has got worse and worse as the days have gone on," Ponting said.
"Australia does not need to be spooked about anything there; one for the fact they should have won, but two it's not going to be easy for anyone starting on that pitch against Australia's attack," he added.
In the ongoing Test, Australia batsman Steve Smith scored a double don in the first innings, enabling the team to post 479 on the board.
Aussies then bundled out England for 301 to gain a lead of 196 runs.
Having set the target, Aussie pacer Pat Cummins got two breakthroughs in the first over sending Rory Burns and Joe Root back to the pavilion and England ended day four at 18/2.
England will resume the final day later today at 18/2. Currently, the series is levelled at 1-1.
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