LONDON — England great Geoffrey Boycott accused Alastair Cook’s men of “poor cricket” as the over-rate slowed to a crawl on the second day of the fifth and final Ashes Test against Australia at The Oval on Thursday.
Hosts England may have already won the series at 3-0 up but they have so far been on the ropes in this match.
That was apparent after tea on Thursday’s second day when England captain Cook set excessively defensive fields even when Australia’s tailenders, rather than century-maker Steven Smith, were on strike.
England bowled just 11,5 overs in 64 minutes after tea, but still conceded 95 runs in the process, before Australia captain Michael Clarke declared on 492 for nine with Smith, whose hundred was his maiden test century, 138 not out.
Teams are meant to bowl 15 overs an hour under International Cricket Council (ICC) regulations governing Test cricket.
If not, they can be fined and, ultimately, see their captain banned from matches for repeat offences, although the rules do give scope for officials to apply “allowances” for third umpire referrals and injuries.
But Boycott said the ICC all too rarely clamped down on slow over-rates, insisting most leading teams were serial offenders when it suited them, and urged them to take stronger action.
“The field placing was disappointing, England knew Australia were going to declare, but it’s poor cricket when a team is bowling five overs in half an hour,” Boycott said.