The points docked after the Test at the MCG ended up being the difference for Australia

Though Australia were comfortably clear in the World Test Championship standings at the time, Australia’s coach Justin Langer has admitted to a feeling of dread when his side dropped two points due to a penalty for slow over rates during the Boxing Day Test against India – ultimately all that separated the team from a place in the final later this year.

While Tim Paine’s side won only two of the four series it contested over the period of the WTC, while also having away series against Bangladesh and South Africa cancelled due to complications around Covid-19, they would have claimed enough points over matches played to squeak past New Zealand into second place behind India if not for being docked the two points at the conclusion of the MCG loss.

Langer claimed that the team had no idea they were behind the required over rate by enough of a margin to incur a penalty until after the Test concluded, despite regular updates always being provided by match officials. In 2008, Australia’s then captain Ricky Ponting resorted to bowling part-timers at a critical moment of a Test match in Nagpur when there were concerns the team’s over rate had sagged to a level at which he may well have been suspended under the disciplinary system in use by the ICC at the time.