Tait's action fine by Punter
New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori has backed away from querying Shaun Tait's bowling action, while Australian skipper Ricky Ponting has dismissed any doubts about it as 'just absolute rubbish'.
With a full delivery arc similar to that of former Australian express bowler Jeff Thomson, Tait took 3-59 off 10 overs in New Zealand's innings of 7-254 off 50 overs and Australia replied with 3-255 off 42.3 overs for a seven-wicket win at Adelaide Oval in the first of the three Commonwealth Bank Chappell-Hadlee Trophy matches.
Australia needs to win in Sydney on Sunday or in Hobart on Thursday to regain the trophy it lost 3-0 to the Black Caps in New Zealand last season.
When Vettori was asked for the second successive day what he thought of Tait's action, he said: "Look, I think I was probably a little caught off guard yesterday by the whole question. It's not something I've really thought about and, like I said at the toss, I never meant to insinuate that he was a chucker.
"Like anyone in world cricket, I wouldn't comment on them. So that was the process, and I know after speaking to (match referee) Roshan Mahanama, there is a process in place that if you feel that a bowler has an illegal action (report it to the referee) … and obviously we haven't gone through that process, so that probably intimates our answer."
Ponting, who won the man-of-the-match award for his magnificent, unbeaten 107, with 14 fours, off 108 balls, said the Australian bowlers had done a 'terrific job' to restrict New Zealand's total, and he added: "Tait got us wickets in his second spell, which was crucial - a couple of quite quick breakthroughs - and that changed the momentum of the game.
"And then Gilly (Adam Gilchrist, with a blistering 51 off 27 balls) came out and decided he was still in Twenty20 mode from the other night, I think. He was in a bit of a hurry and got us off to a flying start, and made batting for the rest of us pretty easy."
Asked whether Tait was unsettled by the events of the previous day when Vettori had sidestepped questions about Tait's bowling action, Ponting said: "I don't think so. I had a really good chat to him about it this morning. He was fine, as you probably would be when it's something that comes completely out of the blue like that.
"There's been no speculation whatsoever about his action before … he was pretty settled, he probably just tried a little bit too hard to take early wickets today. He probably attacked too much and once he got his lines and lengths right in his second spell was when he took his wickets and didn't go for anywhere near as many runs. I think he would have learnt a bit from bowling out there today."
Ponting said he could not understand why there had been any query about Tait's action, and he added: "He's got my full support, as he has of everyone else in the Australian dressing room.
"Look, I don't know what happened today … I don't know whether Channel 9 have been slowing things down all day on the television coverage, but it all looks pretty good to me.
"It wasn't spoken about at all in the warm-up this morning, so I think everyone handled it really well, probably Shaun especially. We just got on with preparing for the game.
"When things like that come up that are just absolute rubbish you dismiss them and get on with preparing yourself for the game of cricket."
Asked what he thought of the way the Kiwis had handled the issue by raising it in the first place, Ponting said: "That's their opinion, I guess. It seems to be their opinion. They seem to have some sort of concern about his action.
"To air it publicly is a bit disappointing, I suppose, in the way they did, but what can you do? They're entitled to their opinions, I suppose. It probably just makes us a little bit hungrier to get out there and play some good cricket against them."
Vettori said Gilchrist had 'a plan of belligerence', had batted 'exceptionally well', and played some 'great shots and got away with a little bit of stuff'.
"But, overall, it was a pretty brutal innings and it took the game away from us in the first 10 overs," he said.