As if England’s plight wasn’t difficult enough, staring down a 456-run deficit heading into the third day in Adelaide, the ICC piled on more misery by docking them a further three points for slow over rates in the first Ashes Test in Brisbane. England were originally handed a penalty of five World Test Championship (WTC) points – and fined 100% of their match fees – for maintaining a slow over rate in the first Test at the Gabba but the ICC on Friday announced the penalty would now be eight points in total.
“Last Saturday, it was announced that England would be docked five WTC points, one for each over they were found to initially have fallen short by,” the ICC said in a statement. “However, it has since emerged they were eight overs short, and will therefore lose three additional points. The points deduction for penalty overs is not capped and must reflect the actual number of penalty overs a team is short of the minimum requirement as per Clause 16.1.2 of the ICC Playing Conditions, hence they have been penalized one point for each over they were short.”
The announcement leaves England in seventh place on the WTC table, with six points from five Tests in the current competition cycle, and came after England had lost early wickets to be 17 for 2 in response to Australia’s first-innings 473 for 9 declared when an electrical storm curtailed the final session on day two of the second Test at Adelaide Oval. England managed to bowl 89 of the scheduled 90 overs on the first day in Adelaide, albeit relying on five overs of Joe Root’s part-time off-spin to catch up.
While over rates could well remain a concern for England’s five-man seam attack, Graham Thorpe, their assistant coach, played down the issue after the first day’s play, saying: “I think there’s bigger things going on in the world than over rates.” England, who lost the first Test by nine wickets and now face a mammoth task to salvage the second, were also penalized for a poor overrate in their home series against India in July and August, meaning they have now conceded a total of 10 points for slow over rate offences.