Cardiff:Ticked off by England's time-wasting tactics on the final day of the dramatic opening Ashes Test here, Australia captain Ricky Ponting has accused the home side of not playing in the spirit of the game.
James Anderson and Monty Panesar held out for the final 40 minutes to salvage an unlikely draw but twice during the 10th wicket pair's 69-ball stand, England sent 12th man Bilal Shafayat and physio Steve McCaig with three overs to play for what appeared to be no other reason than to waste time.
Shafayat ran onto the field to offer Anderson batting gloves while McCaig was eventually ordered off by the umpires after making it to the middle on the second occasion.
That added drama to the proceedings but Ponting was clearly unimpressed. He directed heated words to Shafayat and McCaig while they were on the ground and then said at his post-match press conference the interruptions were disrespect to the spirit of the game.
"I don't think it was required. I was unhappy with it. He (Anderson) changed it (the gloves) the over before, I don't think they'd be too sweaty in one over," said Ponting.
"I'm not sure what the physio was doing out there. I didn't see anyone call for the physio to come out. As far as I'm concerned, it was pretty ordinary really. But they can play whatever way they want to play.
"We came to play by the rules and the spirit of the game. It's up to them to do what they want to do."
Ponting, however, said he would not make any complaint to match referee Jeff Crowe.
"I don't want to make that big a deal of it. I am sure others will be taking it up with the England hierarchy as they should. But it is not the reason we didn't win. I won't think about it again when we leave here," said Ponting.
Meanwhile, England skipper Andrew Strauss cast aside the allegations that they were trying to waste time.
"Our intentions were good. We weren't out there to waste a huge amount of time," Strauss said.
"There was a lot of confusion. We first of all sent out the 12th man to let Jimmy (James Anderson) and Monty know that there was time left rather than just the overs. And then a drink spilled on his (Anderson's) glove. There was a lot of confusion to be honest," he added.
There had been two flashpoints earlier in the day which suggested tempers were fraying.
Before play got underway, England batsman Kevin Pietersen and Australia quick Mitchell Johnson clashed while both teams were warming up on the outfield.
During the match itself Stuart Broad and pacer Peter Siddle appeared to be involved in a shoulder-barging incident.
But Ponting played down the impact of both dust-ups. Of the first incident, he said, "It was a case of a few guys on the ground taking each others' space."
And, as for the second, which was dealt with by umpire Billy Doctrove, Ponting said, "He handled it and got on top of it pretty quickly. It was probably accidental. Move on. It was a great game of cricket and we should be remembering that."
Ponting also defended his decision to bowl part-time spinner Marcus North in the closing stages, rather than fast bowler Mitchell Johnson saying he wanted to get in as many deliveries as he could at the 10th wicket pair.
"We were running a bit short on time, once they got ahead."