Melbourne:After Steve Waugh, now Shane Warne begs to differ with Ricky Ponting on the alleged time-wasting tactics of England during the Ashes opener in Cardiff, saying the hosts played within the spirit of the game.
Ponting was furious after England's last pair of James Anderson and Monty Panesar batted out the last 40 minutes, punctuated by the surprise visits of England physio Steve McCaig and 12th man Bilal Shafayat. The Aussie skipper was convinced that England indulged in delaying tactics which robbed Australia of valuable time, a claim which both Warne and Waugh rejects.
"Whatever needs to be done to save a game, you do it. As long as it's within the rules. What England did on the final day of the first Test was just that - end of story," spin legend Warne, who scripted many Ashes victory for Australia, said.
"But, having said that, I'd expect the Aussies will give a bit of lip about it to Andrew Strauss at Lord's," he wrote in his column in Herald Sun.
Warne praised the gritty English tail for digging it out in the final stages of the match, but said Australia should not feel disappointed with the result as it was, by far, the better side for most part of the match.
"England won a lot of praise for batting out all those overs to save the Cardiff Test. The tail did well, and Australia will be disappointed at not taking that final wicket, but it will gain a boost by knowing it was the better side for most of the five days," he said.
Warne feels the Aussies have many positives to derive from the match.
"Among the positives for Australia at Cardiff was that Brad Haddin showed he is good enough to be a specialist batsman - not as destructive as Adam Gilchrist, but still a very good player. We saw Marcus North and Michael Clarke play spin well; there could have been five centuries in Australia's innings, 'Pup' was stiff to be dismissed down the leg side," he said.
"Nathan Hauritz showed he is an improved bowler who will do a great job for Australia, and I have a feeling a big haul is around the corner.
"The Australia team is no longer in transition. It jelled on the way to winning in South Africa, and if the team was underestimated this time last week, it won't be now. The players are stamping their own style on the way they play," he added.