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Ponting, Pietersen in war of words
April 10, 2007 17:58 IST
During the World Cup Super Eight battle between the Ashes rivals, English middle order batsman Kevin Pietersen and Australian captain Ricky Ponting were engaged in a war of words, according to media reports in Melbourne.
Heat grew as both teams struggled to deal with the pressures of a key World Cup match which eventually saw Australia winning by seven wickets in Antigua on Sunday.
Pietersen's first verbal duel was with Australia captain Ricky Ponting after the maverick England batsman, who struck a rather sedate ton in the match, continued with his tactic of charging McGrath.
Pietersen came dancing down the track to slap McGrath to the mid-wicket boundary and again charged down attempting a pull in the 12th over.
Pietersen's audacious shots irked Ponting and soon the pair was spotted arguing mid-pitch and continued even when the batsman stood waiting for the next over to begin at the non-striker's end, The Australian reported.
Ponting was further exasperated when he grassed a difficult one-handed chance at mid-wicket off Pietersen when the batsman had just reached 50.
Pietersen got another life on 63 when Matthew Hayden, running around from mid-off, dropped an easy chance to allow the batsman make his maiden one-day century against Australia, and first of the World Cup.
Ponting later offered a begrudging praise of Pietersen's knock.
"He played a different innings today and at various times he didn't get the support he needed. But I was still a little surprised he did not step things up a bit earlier," Ponting said.
"He might have been a bit physically tired but he is a very good player in both forms of the game," he added.
Tension mounted again when Andrew Symonds blasted a Paul Collingwood delivery to deep mid-wicket and was caught by Pietersen, who could not balance himself and trod on the boundary rope.
Umpires Rudi Koertzen and Billy Bowden allowed the batsman to stay and though England fielders were evidently unhappy with the decision, skipper Michael Vaughan later called it a fair decision.
"It was a difficult one, but, being honest, he had no control of his waist. We were clutching a bit there," Vaughan said.
The Cup: The Complete Coverage
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