'I know captain wears brunt of criticism but I saw Dravid...': Ponting lambasts India over wrong bowling strategy vs AUS
Ponting argued that India were behind from the first session, in which Rohit put Aussies in to bat under overcast conditions but was unable to take advantage.
India find themselves chasing the match in the World Test Championship final, being held at The Oval in London. Australia’s mammoth first inning total of 469, supercharged by a massive 285-partnership between win centurions Steve Smith and Travis Head, put them in a strong position, before their powerful pace attack knocked India back further. India ended day 2 on 151-5, and still have a long way to go if they wish to script a comeback in the contest.
Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting later pointed out where he thought India went wrong with their strategy and execution with the ball in the first innings. Doing media duties for the ICC website, Ponting argued that India were behind from the very first session, in which captain Rohit Sharma put Australia in to bat under overcast conditions but was unable to take advantage.
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“I think where they let themselves down was in the first hour yesterday and bowling too short," said the successful Australian captain, who boasts of one of the highest winning percentages as Test captain in the history of cricket. “With the wicket conditions, the overhead conditions they had and the brand new Dukes ball, they had to bowl fuller and get the ball driven back down the ground.”
India had gotten off to a good start, with Mohammed Siraj dismissing the dangerous and in-form Usman Khawaja when Australia were only on 2. They had to wait until the last over before lunch to get the second wicket of the innings. “They needed to have Australia four or five down at lunch and they only had them two down which was a pretty good result (for Australia),” he added.
Head joined Smith under positive batting conditions and took the counter-attack to the Indian seamers, quickly adding on runs and creating a formidable partnership.
India’s management received criticism for using four seam bowlers in the lineup, at the expense of R Ashwin, especially against a left-hander heavy Australian batting lineup. Ponting, however, asserted that playing four seamers was the right call.
"I know the captain wears the brunt of it (criticism), but I know it’s not only his decision," Ponting noted. "I saw Rahul Dravid and him out (Rohit) in the middle yesterday morning and they had a long discussion about what they wanted to do at the toss. If they wanted to bowl first I think they had to play the four seamers. So far you would say it hasn’t paid off - but there is a long way to go and we probably shouldn’t be too quick to judge."
Ponting was also full of praise for Mohammed Siraj, who took 4 wickets in the first innings and ensured Australia’s total didn’t get entirely out of control. “I loved seeing that and he looks like the ultimate competitor,” said Ponting. “He was the one today who said I am going to be the guy that is going to turn things around and what I loved was that his pace didn’t drop at all during the whole innings. From the first ball yesterday morning until late this afternoon, his pace was hovering around that 86 or 87-mile and hour mark and that says a lot about a great attitude.”
At the end of day 2, India still trail by 318 runs, with Ajinkya Rahane and KS Bharat at the crease. They will look to play out the morning session before cashing in important runs later in the day.