Australian coach Tim Nielsen says captain Ricky Ponting would have violated his team’s fair play pledge had he gone for India’s jugular instead of speeding up the over-rate in Nagpur.

With Ponting due to arrive in Sydney on Tuesday night to answer his critics over his decision to bowl part-timers on day four in the fourth and last Test, Nielsen said his skipper would have been “thumbing” his nose to authorities had the slow over rate continued.

Ponting has been widely condemned for using part-timers to accelerate the over rate when his side had the ascendancy.

India duly regained its composure and ultimately won the match and the series 2-0.

Nielsen questioned what sort of leadership Ponting would be showing if he had focused solely on winning the match without worrying about the consequences of “breaking the rules”.

“For my mind, it flies in the face of everything we talk about within the Australian cricket team and Cricket Australia (CA) concerning the spirit of cricket,” he wrote on the CA website.

“While we will stay 110 per cent committed to winning every contest we possibly can, there are a set of laws and playing conditions that keep the game in order and if we are just going to thumb our nose at those, there is no point to them.

“It was disappointing and it probably took away a bit of the gloss from a pretty good period where we were able to fight our way back into the game.

“While for those watching in the stands, back at home or in the commentary box may disagree with what Ricky chose to do, being out on the field, trying to win a game and tie a series while also playing in the spirit of the game, things are a little bit different and I still believe Ricky was doing the right thing.”