Ricky Ponting shuts down Joe Root over 'ridiculous' call amid Ashes furore

The Aussie cricket legend has rubbished suggestions from the former England captain.

Ricky Ponting and Joe Root.
Ricky Ponting has shot down Joe Root's calls for change to Test cricket in England. Image: Getty

Ricky Ponting has rubbished Joe Root's suggestion that Test cricket should be played until 10pm in England, describing the English batter's comments as 'ridiculous'. The Poms are still crying foul that Australia managed to retain the Ashes due to rain in Manchester, which robbed England of a likely victory that would have seen them level the series 2-2 ahead of the fifth Test.

But the washout means Australia holds onto the urn for a fourth-straight series, with an England victory at The Oval unable to win them the series outright. In the aftermath of the anti-climactic result, many are calling for change to some of Test cricket's traditional rules.

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Speaking at Old Trafford this week, Root said he didn't see why Test matches couldn't be played until 9 or 10pm at night in England in order to get the overs in. “It doesn’t get dark until 10pm here in the summer,” Root said on BBC. “Why can’t we play until the overs are bowled?”

But Ponting spat back at that suggestion on Wednesday, saying: “You can’t just choose to change the laws of the game whenever you want to. I’m sure there have been times when England have wanted to not get back out there and play themselves. I mean, that’s just a ridiculous thing to say.”

Some have also called for 'reserve days' to be implemented in Test matches, which would see games go to a sixth day in the event of bad weather. The World Test Championship final currently uses a reserve day so the pinnacle of the longest form of the game doesn't finish in a draw.

“You can have a reserve day,” Aussie spinner Brad Hogg told talkSPORT. “I think they should have said, ‘There’s a chance of rain here at Old Trafford. A huge chance of rain, so we may put a rest day here and push the next Test match another day later.’

“We want to make sure we’re going into the final Test match with an opportunity of both teams being 2-2 and we want that highlight going into the last Test match. And now we have just missed that opportunity.”

Ben Stokes, pictured here after the fourth Ashes Test finished in a draw.
Ben Stokes looks on after the fourth Ashes Test finished in a draw. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Steve Harmison blasts calls for 'reserve days' in Tests

But former England bowler Steve Harmison described that claim as "madness", pointing out that the hosts only have themselves to blame because they made some poor decisions that saw them lose the first two Tests. "Honestly I can't get my head around some of the stuff that's come out," he said.

"I can't get my head around some of the people who have said 'I think we should have a reserve day. The game lasts five days, an Ashes series is over five Test matches.

"England haven't lost the Ashes because of two wet days in Manchester. England have lost the Ashes because they've made a mess of what happened in Test match one and Test match two, with mistakes they've made.

"Saying that there should be a reserve day, even in Ashes cricket, I think is ridiculous. Not long ago (coach) Brendon McCullum and (captain) Ben Stokes came into this Test match arena (and) blew the doors off and within three, four Test matches were asking for four day Test matches ... now we want to make it six, this is just madness.

"We lose the Ashes and it's county cricket's fault. We lose the Ashes and it's the Duke ball or the Kookaburra ball's fault. Now we're extending Test matches because we had two days of rain."

England captain Ben Stokes said he also wasn't a fan of bringing in reserve days. "This is a tough way to not be able to get the urn back but I probably wouldn't be on the side of saying there should be reserve days," he said. "Test cricket is five days."

Many have also pointed out that England cost themselves a shot at bowling out Australia in the second innings at Old Trafford because they batted too long on day three.

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