Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting was involved in a heated exchange with veteran cricket journalist Peter Lalor during Channel 7’s coverage of the first Test match between Australia and India.
The “fierce” debate erupted in the third session of day one at Adelaide Oval, with the duo arguing about Tim Paine’s captaincy.
Paine is renowned for having a poor track record with the DRS, and the wicketkeeper made another costly error on Thursday afternoon.
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Indian skipper Virat Kohli was on 16 when he gloved a delivery from spin bowler Nathan Lyon through to the keeper, but was given not out by the on-field umpire.
Although there was some discussion among the Australian fielders, Paine opted not to take the review, despite having three unsuccessful attempts in the bank.
Kohli went on to compile a crucial 74, India’s highest score in the first innings.
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Lalor and Channel 7 commentator Tim Lane bluntly criticised Paine’s decision-making, which prompted a passionate response from Ponting.
“Jeez you’re harsh, you blokes, very, very harsh. There was not even an appeal, hardly a reaction,” Ponting said.
“The DRS is brought in for the absolute howler, let’s get that right. If they thought that was out, there would have been more appeals and everything out there.
“That’s just one that — it wasn’t even an option to be reviewed as far as I’m concerned.”
Lalor immediately quipped back: “Well, mate, they discussed it, I don’t know what they were talking about if it wasn’t for a review.
“They’re paid a lot of money (to get it right).”
Lane attempted to lighten the mood by joking: “So we know what tomorrow’s lead story is.”
But Lalor fired back: “Yeah, ‘Ricky Ponting tries to defend Cricket Australia again and his mate Tim Paine’.”
The remarks were followed by an awkward silence, and Lalor’s stint in the commentary box finished soon after.
READ MORE: Cricket great sent home in TV chaos
On Friday morning, Lalor and Ponting addressed the on-air stoush after Channel 7 presenter James Brayshaw asked: “Hey Pete, have you and Punter kissed and made up or is there still some tension, how’s that going?”
Lalor responded: “Well, they’ve kept us apart for this cross.”
Ponting joked: “You’re in one grandstand and I’m in the other, we’ll catch up at some point in the commentary box today, I’m sure.”
Lalor is The Australian’s chief cricket writer, and has worked as a sports reporter for more than 30 years.
Australia are 2/35 at tea on day two, with Marnus Labuschagne on 16 not out and Steve Smith on one not out.
Indian seamer Jasprit Bumrah removed both of Australia’s opening batsman for eight, with Matthew Wade and Joe Burns both trapped LBW.