26 Aug 2009

Ponting's leadershiip queried as Australia slip to fourth

8:14 am on 26 August 2009

The Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting's leadership is under fire after the end of Australia's six-year reign as test cricket's top team

The 2-1 Ashes series loss to England has seen Australia slip to fourth behind South Africa, Sri Lanka and India.

South Africa have 122 points, with Sri Lanka and India 119, three ahead of Australia who are 11 ahead of England.

Although the retirements of the likes of Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden, Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne weakened Australia, some critics there say the selectors sent a poor squad of players to England.

The dropping of spinner Nathan Hauritz for the deciding fifth Test at The Oval, where England's Graeme Swann took eight wickets on a very helpful pitch, is also being criticised.

The loss leaves Ponting with a record of 39 victories, 11 losses and 11 draws and there have been calls for him to replaced as leader so he can maintain his high standards as a batsman.

But the former Australia captain Ian Chappell says Ponting did a did a pretty fair job as a captain.