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RICKY PONTING'S on-field spat with [...]; ASHES DIARY.

RICKY PONTING'S on-field spat with umpires Aleem Dar and Tony Hill did a successful job of deflecting much of the attention away from his side's increasingly perilous position in the series.

Jonathan Trott's flinty hundred, Matt Prior's devil-may-care run-getting and Australia's colossal 346-run deficit were all sidelined in the post-match analysis in favour of speculation over Ponting's verbals.

Why would such an experienced player as Ponting allow himself to lose his reserve so completely and so publicly? Was it an outward display of the inner batting demons that have denied him a decent score all series? Was it a clever captaincy ploy aimed at taking the media glare off his under-performing team-mates? Or was it a natural winner's urge to reclaim a recently lost title? It is surely no coincidence that Ponting's most headline-making contribution of the series comes on the very day that Australian company Media Monitors announced he had been shunted from first to third in the list of most mentioned sportsmen in 2010, vanquished by Tiger Woods (above) and Mark Webber.

His chances of ever regaining the number one batting position in world cricket may look doubtful, but today's column inches should improve his chances of toppling Woods and Webber.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Dec 28, 2010
Previous Article:Ricky apologises for umpire row as ICC let Australia captain off the hook.
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