Giles may have dropped the Ashes with Ponting fumble, says media
by CricketArchive staff reporter
DateLine: 4th December 2006
Ashley Giles may have dropped the Ashes with his costly fumble to give
prolific-scoring Australian captain Ricky Ponting an early life in the
second Test, media said Monday.
England were in a dominant position, with high hopes of winning the
match and leveling the Test series at one-all, when Ponting, on 35,
lofted a pull shot off seamer Matthew Hoggard which Giles put down on
the backward square leg boundary.
Ponting cashed in on the dropped chance to reach 142 as the Australians
moved to within 40 runs of the 352-run follow-on target in reply to
England's imposing first innings of 551 for six declared at Sunday's
third day stumps.
Ponting became Australia's pinnacle Test centurion with his 33rd
hundred and scored his 10th century in his last 13 Tests.
Giles's blunder was given significant space in Australian newspapers
"For all the debate which surrounded the modest bowling of spinner
Ashley Giles heading into the second Test in Adelaide, it was his
fielding which did England the greatest disservice yesterday," The
Australian newspaper said. "Indeed, he may very well have dropped the
Ashes after putting down a straightforward catch off Australia captain
and century-maker Ricky Ponting. The ball tumbled to the ground and
with it England's chance of closing its hands around Australia's
The miss came just two overs after Damien Martyn had been dismissed for
11 and would have left Australia at 78 for four on a benign pitch.
"One of the reasons given for Giles being preferred to fellow left-arm
finger spinner Monty Panesar was that Giles is the better fielder of
the two," The Australian said.
"Given that Panesar's fielding has sometimes been compared to a Monty
Python sketch for its comical clumsiness, there is absolutely no
guarantee that Panesar would have done any better were he in the same
The Melbourne Age noted that little was said to Giles by his teammates
after his missed chance.
"England has been big on team unity in this series, but little was said
to Giles now. Steve Waugh in his time might have muttered a taunt to
him about dropping the Ashes," the newspaper said. "A cricket match
takes days to win, a series months, a reputation years - but all of
them only a fraction of a second to lose. This was one such fixed
sliver of time. The erring player will argue that the proposition that
a catch can decide a series is difficult to prove, but remain haunted
eternally by the fact that it is impossible to disprove."
The Daily Telegraph said there were warning signs for Australian
cricket in the Adelaide Test.
"Australia may yet come out of this slow-moving Adelaide Test with
their house in order but must heed the warning signs if they are to
avoid further trouble," the newspaper said.
"One of the big pushes of the national selection panel this summer is
to thoroughly pick apart each Test performance and doggedly attempt to
improve the team - even if the sides wins. The first move should be the
reinstatement of all-rounder Shane Watson from injury for the third
Perth Test. Given the desperately docile state of the Perth pitch
Australia need an extra bowling option. Australia's attack is getting
older and, while still strong, is struggling for penetration on home
wickets which have lost their zing."