[In cricket Test matches, a team has to win in a certain number of days or the match is a draw. - Eric]
England coach Andy Flower has hit back at accusations of time-wasting from Australia captain Ricky Ponting. Ponting was not happy with the England 12th man and physio coming on to the pitch late on as England's tailenders battled to save the first Ashes Test. "Ricky Ponting has got his own opinion, and I respect his opinion. He is a very good cricketer and has been a very good ambassador for Australia," said Flower. "But, in this instance, I think he has made a meal of it."
James Anderson and Monty Panesar rebuffed the Australia bowlers to earn England a draw and take them to the second Test, which starts on Thursday at lord's, on level terms. Twelfth man Bilal Shafayat came on to the pitch to give batsman Anderson some new gloves and he returned with England physio Steve McCaig after the next over as England tried to see out the final few overs of the match.
"I am a little surprised at all the hullabaloo over it, to be honest," added Flower. "From my own perspective, in that last hour of the game, there was no time wasting by us. "Have a look at the footage yourself. Never did we consciously try to waste time. Those guys were in such a focus. "Most teams in those situations, you have batsmen talking in the middle for extended periods, knocking down the pitch, changing gloves, getting drinks, which all waste time. At no stage in the last couple of hours did we do that. "There was perceived confusion out in the middle about what time the game was going to end. "We needed to get messages out to them to make sure they were clear. "We have not gotwalkie-talkies to those guys out there and the only way to communicate is to send people out. We did that, right at the end."
Flower says the game was played in the right spirit and added: "We play the game in the right way. "In the last few years we have got the ICC (International Cricket Council) Fair Play Award twice, which is more than a lot of sides, so I would say let's keep it all in perspective and not deflect attention from a very good rearguard action. "That was a good battle out there, and the sort of attention which has been paid to this, I do not like it." -- BBC