Australia v India, 1st Test, MCG, 1st day December 26, 2011

Ponting's century drought continues

The stage was set for Ricky Ponting to make his first hundred in almost two years, and while he looked fluent at the crease, in the end the wait continued
46

On the flight to Australia I had a vision so palpably vivid that I convinced myself that I had sneaked a look at the future. That feeling was reinforced when the toss took place at the appointed hour, despite the sheets of rain and the barrage of hail that kept Christmas revelry confined indoors, and Michael Clarke chose to bat. At some point late in the afternoon, I could visualise Ricky Ponting taking off his helmet to soak in the adulation of a Boxing Day crowd saluting his 40th Test hundred.

The last time I saw Ponting bat at the MCG, he serenely strolled to 257 against the same opponents. It helped that he was fresh from a 242 in the earlier Test at Adelaide, though Australia somehow managed to lose after scoring 556 in the first innings, 400 of them on the first day. As Matthew Hayden went about blitzing India, Ponting picked off his runs as if they belonged to him.

It was the golden phase of his career: including the runs from that Test, he would end the year with 1503 runs and six hundreds, three of them doubles, and an average of 100.20. He had just been married and carried the stability of his personal life on to the field: his batting had lost a bit of impetuosity, but he was a more commanding batsman for it. When India spread the field wide to deny him boundaries, he deftly worked the ball in to the spaces and ran twos.

The world is a bit different now. Ponting hasn't sniffed a hundred in nearly two years. Since his last -209 against Pakistan at Hobart in January 2010 -- he has averaged 27.48 from 30 innings, and every failure adds inches and sharpness to the knives closing in on him. But that adds to the appeal of watching him. Cricket is rewarding enough these days for players to hang on to their careers, but with Ponting, as with Sachin Tendulkar, you sense a grander purpose than a central contract: it's tough to give up something that defines you, something you still love.

In the earlier part of his career, it wasn't a natural thing to like Ponting. He wasn't a stylist; he got in to trouble off the field; and to many fans, both in and outside Australia, he represented the ugly side of the champion Australian teams of the last two decades. But as Australia started to lose under his captaincy, the statesman in Ponting emerged. He was graceful in defeat: rarely did he seek excuses or shift the blame and often in his press conferences he was ruminative and reflective, humourous even. And as the runs have dried up, and the struggle has become apparent, his fragility has made him even more endearing. And in an odd way, he has become more compelling to watch than in his pomp. If there is indeed a final hurrah, a grand last flourish to an outstanding career, you want to be there when the breakthrough happens.

Ponting has come to close that breakthrough in his last few innings. At Johannesburg, his 62 set the stage for the Australian chase and his 78 against New Zealand at Brisbane came when his team wasn't yet out of the woods. And then, Kapil Dev had sounded prophetic a few nights ago when he said, in dead seriousness even though it drew laughter from his audience, that down the years, India's bowlers had proven to be the best medicine for out-of-form batsmen. What better stage than the MCG on the opening day of the Boxing Day Test match?

It is a sign of the times that even rookies fancy bouncing him these days, but even a second-ball knock to his head from Umesh Yadav seemed to work to his advantage. For a start, it seemed to have focused him. If anything he was deceived by the slowness of the ball and had finished playing the stroke before the ball found his helmet. More crucially, it fooled India in to setting the bouncer trap. Instead of trying to nail him leg before with full and straight deliveries, they peppered him with short balls and Ponting fed on them with relish.

Though only one wicket fell in the middle session, it was the most engrossing of the day. Ponting stamped his authority early, pulling and rising on his toes for boundaries. But Ishant Sharma, who announced himself to the world by dismissing Ponting after a searing examination at Perth in 2008, bowled the best spell of the day in the third hour, hitting a spot on the good length and making the ball climb. One of them took the shoulder of Ponting's bat as he came gingerly forward and nearly carried to point.

The glory though was to belong to another newcomer. Yadav, who has, it turns out, been given the licence to concede runs in order to take wickets, followed up a sharp bouncer with a ball that moved away enough to catch Ponting's tentative prod. In 2003, he would have gone nowhere near that ball. But today he merely ended my delusions about clairvoyance.

All day I had been telling anyone who cared to listen that I was going to write about the Ponting hundred. Cricket's obsession with hundreds is obviously one of its peculiarities. In isolation, the 62 today was a fine effort from a batsman considering to be struggling for form. The bigger story of course, is that players like Ponting are judged by their own past. He took his time getting off the wicket, not because there was any doubt about the edge, but because, once again, he had missed the chance to turn a good day into a great day. Also perhaps because of the awareness that even the good days are growing rarer.

Sambit Bal is the editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Biophysicist on December 27, 2011, 5:09 GMT

    I think Ponting has already been given a very looong rope and he hasn't done anything substantial to justify that. An average of 27.48 in 30 innings would be considered too bad for even a promising youngster, leave alone for someone who has crossed 37 years of age. It is time that he is dropped since he doesn't quit on his own. He should have quit after the test at Hobart against New Zealand. Some one like Usman Khawaja deserves more chances as with the confidence that he will be given a longer run he can do better. Australia should look at the future, think of what youngsters like Khawaja can do and not at what Ponting has done in the past!

  • on December 27, 2011, 2:07 GMT

    Ricky is certainly the favorite. I never as much doubted his intent as people made him to be the bad guy. He has always been as true as it comes to the game. Plays hard to the last drop of his sweat and the last clause of legality in the game. People boo him only coz. they misinterpret him, poor fella those...but ponting does not mind that much, shows that lovely grin and answers all the questions raised to him honestly. Enjoy these legends when the time is still there folks, they wouldn't turn back once the clock ticks the time away...Heres hoping for a comeback, not too heavy on India though.....:p

  • citizenkc on December 27, 2011, 2:07 GMT

    Perhaps the best bittersweet thing would be for Ponting to announce his retirement for the Adelaide Test and then go out with a hundred. He has been a thorn in the Indian side for years, but I would like him to see him go out in style.

  • Wefinishthis on December 27, 2011, 0:07 GMT

    I'm sorry, but the lbw for a lower order useless batsmen like Haddin is nothing compared to the wickets of Cowan and Hussey. Indian fans have no cause to say that all was fair with the umpiring.

  • santhoshsaikrishna on December 26, 2011, 23:42 GMT

    Well researched article but I suspect the reality is shadowed. As long as the winning streak continues, it would be of little concern for the team if Punter hunts or not. True, as a player of erstwhile winning squads, for men like him, a ton would make so much of difference; it's a team game though where each little contribution is accumulated creating a resounding success. Far away from this Kangaroo land, there is one man who is also involved in Boxing Day 2011 match at MCG. Sachin. People safely and surely forget his little and little extra innings and cry foul when his tons do not fetch the teams he is part of the much needed wins. So, the bigger question is if these tons and ton making abilities do matter in a team winning.

  • Ms.Cricket on December 26, 2011, 23:38 GMT

    Ponting should retire immediately. He is looking weak and needy. He should have really retired after the 2009 Ashes series loss in England. Weak selectors and personal favouritism keep him in the team.

  • Jaggadaaku on December 26, 2011, 23:33 GMT

    Blasing century or half is too easy against India for Ponting or any other out-of-form player in the world, but that doesn't mean Ponting is back in the form. Ponting always makes runs against India only these days because of a lot of reasons sucha as except Kohli, and Gambhir, nobody in Indan team dive while fielding, Zaheer, Ashwin, and Laxman never even bend to field- they use their feet, the bear belly wicket-keeper(Dhoni) never dive, bowling is fast but not effective, Ashwin can turn the ball but he is a new and this is his first tour overseas. Ponting hasn't blasted a century in his last 33 innings and he comes to bat at the top order though. He crossed 50 runs mark 9 times and 4 against India during this period. This shows how out-of-form against all teams except India and in-form against only India he has been. So, please Punter's blind fans, read the comment carefully before get furious. I never heard in history of cricket that someone has broken the TV in frustration but him

  • JimDavis on December 26, 2011, 23:03 GMT

    Mr Bal - I've one for you - Sachin Tendulkar is so obviously going to get is 100th 100 in test 187.

  • crying_game on December 26, 2011, 22:12 GMT

    Being an Indian fan AND a huge Sachin fan, i am surprising myself no end saying this: Deep down I wish Ponting gets a century, somewhat even more than 'HIM' getting 'THE' century. I guess the reason is Sachin WILL get there, it is just a matter of time-however long that feels. And, it is a certainty that he will go out on his own terms when he choses to. Neither of these applies to Ponting - He does really appear like he has to work hard, really hard for his 100 and considering way things work down under does not have the luxury of chosing his farewell. He deserves is as much as the little grand master and test cricket will be poorer without Ricky. So, go get that elusive 100, Punter. There are thousands of fans outside Oz, am sure, rooting for you.

  • Titan123 on December 26, 2011, 22:08 GMT

    Perfectly stated by Chaitu14. Cowan played well but spoilt his image in my view with his post-match ramblings. He was clearly out (noise and deflection from bat) but he's hiding under the clamor for DRS after Hussey's dismissal. Cowan's dismissal is in fact a good advertisement for anti-DRS brigade as the so-called "hot spot" did not detect a straight forward nick at all (wonder if he applied oil on his bat??!!)! By any reckoning it was 1 against Aus and 1 against India (Haddin's lbw that was not given) on Day 1!

  • Biophysicist on December 27, 2011, 5:09 GMT

    I think Ponting has already been given a very looong rope and he hasn't done anything substantial to justify that. An average of 27.48 in 30 innings would be considered too bad for even a promising youngster, leave alone for someone who has crossed 37 years of age. It is time that he is dropped since he doesn't quit on his own. He should have quit after the test at Hobart against New Zealand. Some one like Usman Khawaja deserves more chances as with the confidence that he will be given a longer run he can do better. Australia should look at the future, think of what youngsters like Khawaja can do and not at what Ponting has done in the past!

  • on December 27, 2011, 2:07 GMT

    Ricky is certainly the favorite. I never as much doubted his intent as people made him to be the bad guy. He has always been as true as it comes to the game. Plays hard to the last drop of his sweat and the last clause of legality in the game. People boo him only coz. they misinterpret him, poor fella those...but ponting does not mind that much, shows that lovely grin and answers all the questions raised to him honestly. Enjoy these legends when the time is still there folks, they wouldn't turn back once the clock ticks the time away...Heres hoping for a comeback, not too heavy on India though.....:p

  • citizenkc on December 27, 2011, 2:07 GMT

    Perhaps the best bittersweet thing would be for Ponting to announce his retirement for the Adelaide Test and then go out with a hundred. He has been a thorn in the Indian side for years, but I would like him to see him go out in style.

  • Wefinishthis on December 27, 2011, 0:07 GMT

    I'm sorry, but the lbw for a lower order useless batsmen like Haddin is nothing compared to the wickets of Cowan and Hussey. Indian fans have no cause to say that all was fair with the umpiring.

  • santhoshsaikrishna on December 26, 2011, 23:42 GMT

    Well researched article but I suspect the reality is shadowed. As long as the winning streak continues, it would be of little concern for the team if Punter hunts or not. True, as a player of erstwhile winning squads, for men like him, a ton would make so much of difference; it's a team game though where each little contribution is accumulated creating a resounding success. Far away from this Kangaroo land, there is one man who is also involved in Boxing Day 2011 match at MCG. Sachin. People safely and surely forget his little and little extra innings and cry foul when his tons do not fetch the teams he is part of the much needed wins. So, the bigger question is if these tons and ton making abilities do matter in a team winning.

  • Ms.Cricket on December 26, 2011, 23:38 GMT

    Ponting should retire immediately. He is looking weak and needy. He should have really retired after the 2009 Ashes series loss in England. Weak selectors and personal favouritism keep him in the team.

  • Jaggadaaku on December 26, 2011, 23:33 GMT

    Blasing century or half is too easy against India for Ponting or any other out-of-form player in the world, but that doesn't mean Ponting is back in the form. Ponting always makes runs against India only these days because of a lot of reasons sucha as except Kohli, and Gambhir, nobody in Indan team dive while fielding, Zaheer, Ashwin, and Laxman never even bend to field- they use their feet, the bear belly wicket-keeper(Dhoni) never dive, bowling is fast but not effective, Ashwin can turn the ball but he is a new and this is his first tour overseas. Ponting hasn't blasted a century in his last 33 innings and he comes to bat at the top order though. He crossed 50 runs mark 9 times and 4 against India during this period. This shows how out-of-form against all teams except India and in-form against only India he has been. So, please Punter's blind fans, read the comment carefully before get furious. I never heard in history of cricket that someone has broken the TV in frustration but him

  • JimDavis on December 26, 2011, 23:03 GMT

    Mr Bal - I've one for you - Sachin Tendulkar is so obviously going to get is 100th 100 in test 187.

  • crying_game on December 26, 2011, 22:12 GMT

    Being an Indian fan AND a huge Sachin fan, i am surprising myself no end saying this: Deep down I wish Ponting gets a century, somewhat even more than 'HIM' getting 'THE' century. I guess the reason is Sachin WILL get there, it is just a matter of time-however long that feels. And, it is a certainty that he will go out on his own terms when he choses to. Neither of these applies to Ponting - He does really appear like he has to work hard, really hard for his 100 and considering way things work down under does not have the luxury of chosing his farewell. He deserves is as much as the little grand master and test cricket will be poorer without Ricky. So, go get that elusive 100, Punter. There are thousands of fans outside Oz, am sure, rooting for you.

  • Titan123 on December 26, 2011, 22:08 GMT

    Perfectly stated by Chaitu14. Cowan played well but spoilt his image in my view with his post-match ramblings. He was clearly out (noise and deflection from bat) but he's hiding under the clamor for DRS after Hussey's dismissal. Cowan's dismissal is in fact a good advertisement for anti-DRS brigade as the so-called "hot spot" did not detect a straight forward nick at all (wonder if he applied oil on his bat??!!)! By any reckoning it was 1 against Aus and 1 against India (Haddin's lbw that was not given) on Day 1!

  • kcpingle on December 26, 2011, 22:03 GMT

    It is simply not correct to compare Sachin & Ponting while referring to ( in the same paragraph i.e. ) Ponting's average of 33 since Jan 2010. Sachin's is exactly double of that !!

  • Claydo78 on December 26, 2011, 21:38 GMT

    what a terrible country we call australia! why is it, the indians are all backing ponting but almost every australian (except myself) is calling for pontings head? the indians know their cricket, they know when they are watching a champion batsmen and that champions eventually come good. tendulkar and dravid have had lean periods but now are at the top of they game. australians cricket fans know very little about this fantastic game and are far to quick in turning on their stars. a great artilce its a shame that more australian fans dont think the same way, with a unified australia behind punter i seriously doubt we would talking about a 100 drougt!

  • on December 26, 2011, 21:26 GMT

    I don't know how will you write the article from the second day of this test,,BAL.....this pitch will offer bounce and movements for pace...that's for sure,,,,not let us stop about pointing to ponting....i would love to see Cummins in this big stage....I would love to see how many of the Indian writers would love to write about him or write about their batsman failure.......India's first innings would be deciding inning in this match.....Australian have done their job.....300+ would nicely set up the match....

    Pattison and Siddle should be enough here!!!

  • chaitu14 on December 26, 2011, 20:23 GMT

    ponting played well for his 62.he is gona be a threat for india in the coming matches for sure and with the record india have for bringing back playerss into form..i dont think ponting is gona have a tough time in the coming days..well about the DRS on day one..id say hussey was unlucky for sure so is zaheer with haddin with that plumb. Cowan was out clearly but the hotspot failed to pick it on the bat..though it was obvious on the ball,it was sad to hear that he complained about the decision in the pressmeet. he played well. shudnt spoil that with unnecessary comments after the debut. he is too young for the international cricket to start playing at the press.

  • Big_Poppa_94 on December 26, 2011, 20:11 GMT

    As an Indian fan, I do hope Ponting regains his form but only after this Test Series :)

  • PradeepR on December 26, 2011, 19:25 GMT

    Leave him alone and stop spelling doom for him every match. He will leave when he wants to leave. His' was the best contribution of the top order in this match until now. I am aware of Cowan's 68 but look at the number of balls he has taken for that. The same was done for Sachin a few years back when he was still the 2nd or 3rd highest run getter for India in every series. The fact is that these guys are legends and even in the worst of their batting forms they are better than a few others in their respective batting orders. Fifties and 100s are not be the benchmarks for someone to be in the team or out of the team.

  • on December 26, 2011, 19:08 GMT

    Really nice article this.... & I completely agree with the view that you find the better side of Ponting when he's losing or not in the best of form.. as has been the case for some years.. I still remember the hatred I developed for him after the Sydney test'08 but now when he's under pressure to perform... i would not like hime to be ousted frm the team because as I hav read many times before... players like him should decide themselves when to hang their boots and not be told when to do so.. Just like English and Aussie fans want to see a Tendulkar 100 but eventually their own team to win... I feel somehow myself inching towards that feeling... He was not having a good World Cup with the bat.. He scored a 100 against India and India won... we won't mind a deja vu of sorts if that allows the world to see the GOOD RICKY PONTING for some more time.... would we ?????

  • avis1001 on December 26, 2011, 18:36 GMT

    Still 4 days of cricket left in this first test - and let us see how India batsmen will perform.

  • Kappaans on December 26, 2011, 18:28 GMT

    You can't write off such greats like these. I think Ponting is hitting his form. The way he has pulled the balls against Newzies, SA and here against India shows his confidence. He is not getting his drives right. He has got out by drives...after spending enough time. He is not leaving the uncertain deliveries and that also shows why he is getting on drives. So, if you see correcting those drives will not be that difficult for his class. He has found his dried up diffident pull shots back. He is cutting the ball gracefully. He is not even afraid to go over the top. So, I guess these are signs of him hitting the form soon. If he manages to get his drives right and the judges the balls to leave... Done!! Another year of Ponting will be exactly similar to Dravid's 2011.

    I love the way you try to end your article. Your epilogues are emotional and I love it. But, inducing the emotion on the disappointment Ponting showed today is way too much. He is back! Ominous sign for India.

  • Rakim on December 26, 2011, 18:22 GMT

    Ponting, Dravid and Sachin :D who is the best test batsman among these 3? Shoaib said Ricky, tho Dravid is The Wall xD

  • on December 26, 2011, 18:22 GMT

    Nicely written once again. I believe, Ponting is going to come hard in second inning. He was in a great touch today except those couple of blips. That trademark pull shot was very much there and was showing the class it belongs to.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 26, 2011, 17:39 GMT

    Bal, as realistic as your article may sound, looks like it is meant to tell the world, yet again, that Ponting is not good enough for International Cricket, anymore. I have mixed feelings about this piece. I was in fact very glad when he was hit on his helmet; a wake up call for the Legend. I was so eagerly waiting for a Ponting hundred last night that I was left in disbelief when he finally nicked it. It took me a while to sink in the feeling that he was dismissed before he reached the 3 digit figure. Michael Hussey's dismissal was even more painful, wrongly getting dismissed for a golden duck. I want to see what the Ponting naysayers have to say about his inning. I'm sure Ponting and Hussey will have their turns in the second inning with India piling up a big score on a good 2nd and 3rd day tracks.

  • santhoshsaikrishna on December 26, 2011, 17:24 GMT

    Well researched article but I suspect the reality is shadowed. As long as the winning streak continues, it would be of little concern for the team if Punter hunts or not. True, as a player of erstwhile winning squads, for men like him, a ton would make so much of difference; it's a team game though where each little contribution is accumulated creating a resounding success. Far away from this Kangaroo land, there is one man who is also involved in Boxing Day 2011 match at MCG. Sachin. People safely and surely forget his little and little extra innings and cry foul when his tons do not fetch the teams he is part of the much needed wins. So, the bigger question is if these tons and ton making abilities do matter in a team winning.

  • ozwriter on December 26, 2011, 16:56 GMT

    well written article. i look forward to similarly piece when tendulkar doesn't or does achieve his milestone which is a much bigger monkey then ponting's current situation.

  • AvidCricFan on December 26, 2011, 16:40 GMT

    Its only a matter of time before Punter gets hundred.

  • bharatsud on December 26, 2011, 16:29 GMT

    Ponting still represents the ugly side of Australian cricket and always will for all of his actions throughout his long career. Yes, his record is very good but for most fans around the world Ponting will not be remembered as a good cricketer - he embodies everything that this gentleman's game should not be - arrogant, brash, deceptive, willing to "compromise" the laws for his, or I hope his team's, good (yes we have not forgotten how Ponting used to say the fielder needs to be trusted whenever an Aussie claimed a catch but the same Ponting never used the take the fielder's word when a catch was claimed against him - THIS is what Ponting will probably be most remembered for). A little bit of banter has probably always existed in the game and makes it interesting at some level. Steve Waugh had taken the banter to sleding and to new heights but it was still under some semblance of control. Under Ponting the Aussie team was completely crazy with the captain leading the pack.

  • Biophysicist on December 26, 2011, 16:23 GMT

    If the 62 scored by Ponting today was from a relatively new entrant who after five tests with not even a 50 and averaging 27 or 28 runs, one could say that he is getting better or that he has made a good contribution and that he deserves to be supported. But someone who is 37 years old and averages about 27.5 in the last two years from 30 innings, should pave way for someone younger. I would say, Usman Khawaja would deserve more chances than Ponting who is a fading, nay almost faded, star.

  • on December 26, 2011, 16:06 GMT

    don worry mate soon Poting will get 100 bt h hav to play at no3..

  • rahulcricket007 on December 26, 2011, 15:59 GMT

    what a start of the series . first day & controversies have begun . seems like it will be even more spicier then previous tour .

  • Charindra on December 26, 2011, 15:26 GMT

    Being Sri Lankan, Ponting and Shane Warne were the the two people I loved to hate from about '95 to 2008. But strangely, these two have become slightly less hate-able in their twilight years. Now I find myself rooting for Ponting, if only to make a 100 so that he's not dropped. He has done a lot for Australian cricket, and as sentimental and subcontinental as this sounds, he deserves to go out on his own terms.

  • on December 26, 2011, 15:20 GMT

    Mr. Bal you are one of my most favourite writers. Very nicely written article. And I can understand your feelings of planning to write for his century!

  • Outside_Off_Stump on December 26, 2011, 15:12 GMT

    Nothing like a Sambit Bal piece in Cricinfo. Hopefully Dravid scores a hundred and you write about that too.

  • Ganes.V on December 26, 2011, 14:44 GMT

    he almost got there today- the way he was going he looked good for a double century. Just that luck he required was not there and that favoured india..

  • backwardpoint on December 26, 2011, 14:35 GMT

    great batsmen dont need a 10 to roar back to form. 3 diff half centuries... under pressure in 4 tests. 1 against a great bowling attack in a winning cause in hostile conditions. one in brisbane when team is struggling against a good attack. one today against a pop gun attac. i ll take that. so'll the aus team. all the while, when he nd his mates mentioned that a biggie was around the corner, it seemed far off and far fetched too. Now, it doesnt matter if he doesnt hit 100's. score when the team requires you to and mentor the juniors - i think that will fix the problem. The 100-150's will come up sooner than later.

    I think he ll have a cracker of a 100 in the WACA.

  • indianpunter on December 26, 2011, 14:17 GMT

    Punter should hang up his boots after this series and exit the scene gracefully. If he made that announcement , he could play freely, without any added pressure and that would certainly bring the best ( of whats left) in him. The intense media scrutiny that he i being subjected to every day is just playing into India's hands. A modern great shouldnt be subjected to this. Having said that, most of it is his own making. By prolonging it thus far, he has lost the right to call time on his career( unless he does it now ).

  • timus6778 on December 26, 2011, 14:13 GMT

    Players like SRT,RD,JK and RP are legends....they know when to hang their boots,so the very suggestion from the "so-called experts" is rubbish....No team can take them lightly even when they are not at their best. they have seen enough to come out of the ebbs...Maybe Ponting is not what he used to be, but his name still instills fear in the opposition camp. As an Indian , I don't want him to deliver in the ongoing series. but as i said earlier, the legends of the game know when and how to bounce back...I just wish RP does enough to retain his place in the side and not tear the Indian bowling apart...

  • Cricketencyclopedia on December 26, 2011, 13:52 GMT

    Although Ricky Ponting is not one of my favourite Australian cricketers, he is in a situation where each innings, each match is very crucial for him. One can easily say that the burden of the captaincy has affected his batting especially as Australia is no longer the no.1 ranked team in test cricket. During this test series against India, he can learn from two of his arch-rivals namely Sachin Tendulkar & Rahul Dravid. Both batsmen have struggled during their test careers & they have managed to lift their game to a higher level where consistency is important. Interestingly though, on Australia's last tour of India, Ponting captain of the team told Rahul Dravid that he should not retire because he has a lot left in him to contribute for India. I suppose Ponting can spend some time off the field with these two batting greats where he can draw some inspiration from them during the twilight of their careers as well as his. His 40th test century is around the corner.

  • on December 26, 2011, 13:43 GMT

    I sense a hundred for ricky in the next test ...

  • popcorn on December 26, 2011, 13:42 GMT

    THIS will be Ricky Ponting's great summer. Mark my words. This is also the feeling of Tom Moody. You have given us so much,Ricky,you deserve much more than kinives stuck into you by hopeless no gooders.

  • Smithie on December 26, 2011, 13:14 GMT

    As editor of Cric Info what is your opinion on DRS and whether India's position is within the Spirit of Cricket?.

  • ramli on December 26, 2011, 12:46 GMT

    What if Ponting does not hit a century anymore ... is it not enough if he contributes to Aussie victory ... and .. of course exiting the scene at his wish ... any objections???

  • santoshjohnsamuel on December 26, 2011, 12:41 GMT

    Spot on with the observation that Ponting has become likeable. And despite the odd unwanted reaction once in a while (esp. arguing with umpires), his passion and love for the game always shine through. Add to the fact that he's been a complete team man and brutally hard on himself much of his ugly side could be understood, if not condoned. And statesman he's been in the recent years, with his defense of Test Cricket. My own love for his game has been his batting against pace bowling. True these days he does look vulnerable (though the desire to dominate exists), but in his peak he possibly would be the only one who would be able to hold a candle to Viv, in being willing to take apart fast bowling. In that regard he (with Lara and a few others, and Amarnath to a degree) stands alone for his ability to take the attack to the pace men, despite the fact that SRT, Dravid, Inzy, Sangakkara, Waugh, Gooch, Lamb and many others are/have been exceptionally good batsmen against fast bowling.

  • TheAceofSpades on December 26, 2011, 12:29 GMT

    I seriously think Ponting will perform in this series. He is just an innings away from good form. Sometimes even a good shot can also give the player confidence he is short of. Ponting has been a solid player for the Aussies and deservers respect. People are doing a big mistake by writing him off. After all, every player goes through a lean patch in his career. Remember when Rahul Dravid was not performing, he was criticized and people had thought that its time for Rahul to bid adieu. But he bounced back. Ponting has got starts but he has not been able to convert it into a big innings. The day he makes it a big innings, the opposition will be down and out.

  • on December 26, 2011, 12:09 GMT

    Excellent write up!! I thoroughly enjoyed the way you summed up Ponting's career, his rise to the zenith and the subsequent fall back to the mediocrity. Though I am not a Ponting admirer, but i would still love to see a hundred from the former Aussie skipper as he prepares to finally call it a day to an otherwise extraordinary career. I absolutely loved the way you pointed out one thing, that he has become more graceful in defeats these days ( I believe post Sydney 2008). After all, once you realise you too are mortal!!!

  • on December 26, 2011, 11:55 GMT

    As a West Indian, it sometimes amazes me how some Australians are eager to see Ponting retire, when they know that players of the golden generation retired around the same time. Ponting needs to stay in the side for at least one more season to arrest the Australian slide where world rankings are concerned. Australia's middle order needs his experience, or else experienced sides would capitalize, knowing that the middle order has novices. When Brian Lara retired, I thought he had at least one season of good test cricket in him, however, due to performances in 2007 world cup and other administrative pressures, he quit. As a result of our slide, Chanderpaul may have to play test cricket until his 40th birthday for our team to begin to rise again. I hope we can give the Aussies a good fight next year, or else we may be facing a whitewash.

  • viv85 on December 26, 2011, 11:39 GMT

    I would still back kapil....for Ponting knows these are his final tests...Indian attack doesnt have the wherewithal to add to his misery....a century from him awaits us...

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  • viv85 on December 26, 2011, 11:39 GMT

    I would still back kapil....for Ponting knows these are his final tests...Indian attack doesnt have the wherewithal to add to his misery....a century from him awaits us...

  • on December 26, 2011, 11:55 GMT

    As a West Indian, it sometimes amazes me how some Australians are eager to see Ponting retire, when they know that players of the golden generation retired around the same time. Ponting needs to stay in the side for at least one more season to arrest the Australian slide where world rankings are concerned. Australia's middle order needs his experience, or else experienced sides would capitalize, knowing that the middle order has novices. When Brian Lara retired, I thought he had at least one season of good test cricket in him, however, due to performances in 2007 world cup and other administrative pressures, he quit. As a result of our slide, Chanderpaul may have to play test cricket until his 40th birthday for our team to begin to rise again. I hope we can give the Aussies a good fight next year, or else we may be facing a whitewash.

  • on December 26, 2011, 12:09 GMT

    Excellent write up!! I thoroughly enjoyed the way you summed up Ponting's career, his rise to the zenith and the subsequent fall back to the mediocrity. Though I am not a Ponting admirer, but i would still love to see a hundred from the former Aussie skipper as he prepares to finally call it a day to an otherwise extraordinary career. I absolutely loved the way you pointed out one thing, that he has become more graceful in defeats these days ( I believe post Sydney 2008). After all, once you realise you too are mortal!!!

  • TheAceofSpades on December 26, 2011, 12:29 GMT

    I seriously think Ponting will perform in this series. He is just an innings away from good form. Sometimes even a good shot can also give the player confidence he is short of. Ponting has been a solid player for the Aussies and deservers respect. People are doing a big mistake by writing him off. After all, every player goes through a lean patch in his career. Remember when Rahul Dravid was not performing, he was criticized and people had thought that its time for Rahul to bid adieu. But he bounced back. Ponting has got starts but he has not been able to convert it into a big innings. The day he makes it a big innings, the opposition will be down and out.

  • santoshjohnsamuel on December 26, 2011, 12:41 GMT

    Spot on with the observation that Ponting has become likeable. And despite the odd unwanted reaction once in a while (esp. arguing with umpires), his passion and love for the game always shine through. Add to the fact that he's been a complete team man and brutally hard on himself much of his ugly side could be understood, if not condoned. And statesman he's been in the recent years, with his defense of Test Cricket. My own love for his game has been his batting against pace bowling. True these days he does look vulnerable (though the desire to dominate exists), but in his peak he possibly would be the only one who would be able to hold a candle to Viv, in being willing to take apart fast bowling. In that regard he (with Lara and a few others, and Amarnath to a degree) stands alone for his ability to take the attack to the pace men, despite the fact that SRT, Dravid, Inzy, Sangakkara, Waugh, Gooch, Lamb and many others are/have been exceptionally good batsmen against fast bowling.

  • ramli on December 26, 2011, 12:46 GMT

    What if Ponting does not hit a century anymore ... is it not enough if he contributes to Aussie victory ... and .. of course exiting the scene at his wish ... any objections???

  • Smithie on December 26, 2011, 13:14 GMT

    As editor of Cric Info what is your opinion on DRS and whether India's position is within the Spirit of Cricket?.

  • popcorn on December 26, 2011, 13:42 GMT

    THIS will be Ricky Ponting's great summer. Mark my words. This is also the feeling of Tom Moody. You have given us so much,Ricky,you deserve much more than kinives stuck into you by hopeless no gooders.

  • on December 26, 2011, 13:43 GMT

    I sense a hundred for ricky in the next test ...

  • Cricketencyclopedia on December 26, 2011, 13:52 GMT

    Although Ricky Ponting is not one of my favourite Australian cricketers, he is in a situation where each innings, each match is very crucial for him. One can easily say that the burden of the captaincy has affected his batting especially as Australia is no longer the no.1 ranked team in test cricket. During this test series against India, he can learn from two of his arch-rivals namely Sachin Tendulkar & Rahul Dravid. Both batsmen have struggled during their test careers & they have managed to lift their game to a higher level where consistency is important. Interestingly though, on Australia's last tour of India, Ponting captain of the team told Rahul Dravid that he should not retire because he has a lot left in him to contribute for India. I suppose Ponting can spend some time off the field with these two batting greats where he can draw some inspiration from them during the twilight of their careers as well as his. His 40th test century is around the corner.