Australia v New Zealand, 1st Test, Brisbane, 2nd day December 2, 2011

Ponting rides on luck towards recovery

Ponting had several fortunate moments on his way to an unbeaten half-century that could be the trigger he's been waiting for to revive his form
51

Ricky Ponting had not yet scored when he survived an lbw shout. He had not yet scored when he should have been run out. He was 20 when an edge onto the pads popped up to where short leg might have been. He was 34 when a hasty call for a single ran out Usman Khawaja. He was 63 when another tight lbw appeal was survived, this time after consultation with the DRS. And he was 67 when he walked off the Gabba in the company of his captain Michael Clarke, unbeaten at the end of day two.

Luck, providence, good fortune. Whatever it may be called, Ponting found it in Brisbane against New Zealand, and travelled on its coat-tails to the outskirts of a first Test century for 23 months and 28 innings. Much like the important 62 he had made against South Africa to give Australia's fourth innings chase a start in Johannesburg, this was not vintage Ponting. But it was a less star-crossed Ponting than the one who has cussed all manner of odd or questionable dismissals as he has fought to keep his fading career from being snuffed out completely.

The first notion that Ponting might be a batsman susceptible to swings of outrageous misfortune took place in 2005 at Trent Bridge, when he was run out by the England substitute fielder Gary Pratt as Australia tried desperately to stave off the loss of the Ashes. Ponting took issue with Pratt's presence in place of a resting fast bowler, and pondered what might have been. Other run-outs took place, notably at The Oval in 2009 and at Mohali in 2010, each time Ponting the non-striker and each time the victim of a direct hit. There have been freakish catches: think Paul Collingwood at the WACA ground in December 2010 .There have also been debatable verdicts, like the Jimmy Anderson lbw or slips catch - some are still unsure what - at Lord's in 2009.

Of course, such dismissals have been in the minority, next to the firm front-foot press and edge into the slips, the falling-across-the-crease lbw (a recent favourite), the hook shot to oblivion, and the brain fade against the opposing spin bowler. Yet it is difficult to escape the notion that Ponting has considered himself to not be playing badly, simply getting out. Trenchant responses to questions about his place in the team, upon returning from South Africa, are testament to that.

A neat measure of Ponting's helping of luck at the Gabba arrived via the fates of the batsmen at the other end. David Warner, on debut, swayed away from a short ball but not far enough to prevent Tim Southee from touching his gloves on the way through to Reece Young. There was little misfortune about the fact that Phillip Hughes was caught in the slip cordon - it has happened far too often to be deemed an ill-event - but more about the rasping low catch held by Martin Guptill. And Khawaja, referred to more than once as the man to occupy Ponting's place in the Australian batting orders of the future, was far more sinned against than sinning when Ponting called him through for a run that was barely there at first, and not there at all once Kane Williamson had under-armed the stumps down.

The wastefulness of that dismissal, and its age-old negative implications for the batsman who survived it, was not lost on Ponting. He had, after all, been there quite a few times himself in recent years. Four balls later, he leaned into an extra cover drive from the bowling of Chris Martin that was as delectable, if not violent, as any stroke he has played since his first Test in 1995. Others would soon follow. The pull shot was played with a roll of the wrists to keep it down, a back foot punch skidded between cover and mid off to raise 50, and a pair of cuts off pace and spin took advantage as the visitors' bowling grew unaccountably generous.

Generous too was the marginal no-ball that allowed Clarke to keep batting with Ponting, having dragged Doug Bracewell onto the stumps. Quite apart from their postures as captain and predecessor, Clarke and Ponting desire more frequent partnerships. Their last of any great note in Tests took place the last time Ponting made a Test century, a double against Pakistan in Hobart in 2010. "If you look at the way we play fast bowling and spin bowling, it's probably vastly different," Ponting said in August. "Michael tends to use his feet against the spinners a bit more than I do, and we both probably play fast bowling a little bit differently as well, so if you sat back and looked at it that way, you'd think we'd be a very successful partnership together, but so far it probably hasn't been as productive as we would have liked. Hopefully that changes in the next couple of years."

At the close, brought ludicrously early by the kind of bad light adjudication that would preclude almost all Test cricket at Headingley and quite a lot in New Zealand, Ponting was 33 runs from a century, though considerably further short of the type of score he will be envisaging for himself and the team he once captained. He was happy to be batting with Clarke, and together the lucky duo have the chance to bury New Zealand at the same time Ponting's batting is revived.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dms1972 on December 3, 2011, 11:58 GMT

    Ponting may have lost 3 Ashes series as captain, but how many test series have India won in Australia? In fact, how many test matches have India won in Australia?

  • dms1972 on December 3, 2011, 11:49 GMT

    @Deepak Sharma, I like your selective memory. I'm fairly certain that Tendulkar's future in Test cricket was being questioned mid 2009. And he had an extended form slump, similar to Ricky Ponting's, from end 2005 through to the beginning of 2007 when he was averaging only 25. For most of Brian Lara's career, the West Indies were so bad that even Lara out of form was better than most other players in his team, and he had several extended periods when he averaged less than 30. The only reason his overall average is so high is because when scored a hundred, he usually scored a really big hundred. Kallis is one of the best all-rounders of all time, so when he's not scoring runs, his place in the team isn't questioned because he's also a very good bowler. And Dravid was under pressure to keep his spot in the team at the end of 2008, having gone 19 innings without a century and averaging only 18 in that time.

  • on December 3, 2011, 6:39 GMT

    He has been lucky all his career. He was just gifted with legendary team-mates.

  • Sudhakar86 on December 3, 2011, 6:28 GMT

    @Ashish Gupta Rohit played well against Lee in the last downunder finals. He may not become like Sachin but he is much simailar to Yuvi n in Tests he can become someone like Jayawardene!

  • Sudhakar86 on December 3, 2011, 6:23 GMT

    @Sanoj Vasudevan

    Cool dude it doesn't matter who scores when Rohit scores; Everyone knows that how good Rohit was! Brilliant stuff! He is the definite no.4 after Sachin in Tests. In ODIs he is much similar to Yuvraj and thats it! Nothing more to explain of his greatness!

  • on December 3, 2011, 4:52 GMT

    Ponting is a plunderer against mediocre or even above average bowling. But has never been too 'great' against 'great' bowling. He was lucky that the only great bowlers during his plundering days ( 2002 - 2006 ) were in his team. He has been a very good batsmen. But just a notch below the likes of Tendulkar and Lara, whose prime periods were against the likes of Akram,Waqar,Donald, McGrath, Warne ( and Ambrose, Walsh , Steyn for Tendulkar ). Matty Hayden was a similar plunderer who made hay in the period when bowling was just good but not great. Remember he first played in 95-96 and got dropped. Well, because the bowling then was just too good for him. Then he came back after 2000 and started plundering. In current batsmen, Rohit Sharma has similar talent,( though only above average bowling often proves to be enough for him). He could improve and be another Ponting if he doesn't face Steyn much and no great bowlers come around during his tenure.

  • ozlover4mnepal on December 3, 2011, 3:56 GMT

    @deepak sharma: you got 2 b kidding mate! Every indian cricket lover seem to be disrespecting Oz players but d fact is "INDIA never reached no. 1 test ranking" when you so called 'FAV 4s' (SACHIN, GANGULY, DRAVID, VVS) were playing together! You try to boast yourself but punter waz present whenver and wherever Oz won during last 15 years. You got to know this fact mate!

  • aditya.gov on December 2, 2011, 23:44 GMT

    Ponting is warming up this series, just waiting for 'super' Indian bowlers to arrive .. saving his big hundreds for them :)

  • Full-Blooded-Wallop on December 2, 2011, 20:31 GMT

    Decent player. Comes on 56th in my list of all time greats.But selfish act today.

  • on December 2, 2011, 19:32 GMT

    @popcorn King? Khwaja was obviously better today, and Ponting needs to score consistently to be back.

  • dms1972 on December 3, 2011, 11:58 GMT

    Ponting may have lost 3 Ashes series as captain, but how many test series have India won in Australia? In fact, how many test matches have India won in Australia?

  • dms1972 on December 3, 2011, 11:49 GMT

    @Deepak Sharma, I like your selective memory. I'm fairly certain that Tendulkar's future in Test cricket was being questioned mid 2009. And he had an extended form slump, similar to Ricky Ponting's, from end 2005 through to the beginning of 2007 when he was averaging only 25. For most of Brian Lara's career, the West Indies were so bad that even Lara out of form was better than most other players in his team, and he had several extended periods when he averaged less than 30. The only reason his overall average is so high is because when scored a hundred, he usually scored a really big hundred. Kallis is one of the best all-rounders of all time, so when he's not scoring runs, his place in the team isn't questioned because he's also a very good bowler. And Dravid was under pressure to keep his spot in the team at the end of 2008, having gone 19 innings without a century and averaging only 18 in that time.

  • on December 3, 2011, 6:39 GMT

    He has been lucky all his career. He was just gifted with legendary team-mates.

  • Sudhakar86 on December 3, 2011, 6:28 GMT

    @Ashish Gupta Rohit played well against Lee in the last downunder finals. He may not become like Sachin but he is much simailar to Yuvi n in Tests he can become someone like Jayawardene!

  • Sudhakar86 on December 3, 2011, 6:23 GMT

    @Sanoj Vasudevan

    Cool dude it doesn't matter who scores when Rohit scores; Everyone knows that how good Rohit was! Brilliant stuff! He is the definite no.4 after Sachin in Tests. In ODIs he is much similar to Yuvraj and thats it! Nothing more to explain of his greatness!

  • on December 3, 2011, 4:52 GMT

    Ponting is a plunderer against mediocre or even above average bowling. But has never been too 'great' against 'great' bowling. He was lucky that the only great bowlers during his plundering days ( 2002 - 2006 ) were in his team. He has been a very good batsmen. But just a notch below the likes of Tendulkar and Lara, whose prime periods were against the likes of Akram,Waqar,Donald, McGrath, Warne ( and Ambrose, Walsh , Steyn for Tendulkar ). Matty Hayden was a similar plunderer who made hay in the period when bowling was just good but not great. Remember he first played in 95-96 and got dropped. Well, because the bowling then was just too good for him. Then he came back after 2000 and started plundering. In current batsmen, Rohit Sharma has similar talent,( though only above average bowling often proves to be enough for him). He could improve and be another Ponting if he doesn't face Steyn much and no great bowlers come around during his tenure.

  • ozlover4mnepal on December 3, 2011, 3:56 GMT

    @deepak sharma: you got 2 b kidding mate! Every indian cricket lover seem to be disrespecting Oz players but d fact is "INDIA never reached no. 1 test ranking" when you so called 'FAV 4s' (SACHIN, GANGULY, DRAVID, VVS) were playing together! You try to boast yourself but punter waz present whenver and wherever Oz won during last 15 years. You got to know this fact mate!

  • aditya.gov on December 2, 2011, 23:44 GMT

    Ponting is warming up this series, just waiting for 'super' Indian bowlers to arrive .. saving his big hundreds for them :)

  • Full-Blooded-Wallop on December 2, 2011, 20:31 GMT

    Decent player. Comes on 56th in my list of all time greats.But selfish act today.

  • on December 2, 2011, 19:32 GMT

    @popcorn King? Khwaja was obviously better today, and Ponting needs to score consistently to be back.

  • Chupaa_Rustam on December 2, 2011, 18:23 GMT

    Comeon guys, we all know that if hadn't been for likes of warne or mcgrath and a powerful opening combo......Ponting would have been no where as a captain...

    As @Gupta said, the moment he had to lead the team in their absence, his form crumbled.....he cannot lead the batting-side on his own

  • PACERONE on December 2, 2011, 18:20 GMT

    WhitesX1,you are so right.If that ball had not gotten a wicket he would not of asked for the review.He should be asking for a review also when the team has to appeal 3 times before he gives a batsman out....this means that he is not sure.

  • popcorn on December 2, 2011, 17:36 GMT

    The King is back! Long live King Ricky Ponting!

  • zico123 on December 2, 2011, 17:25 GMT

    Ponting ran Khwaja out to end a promising innings from a upcoming youngstar, this is exactly what Ponting is doing by occupying a place in the team stopping growth of a youngstar, he was a genius in the past, he can't carry on for ever using that big name reputation, he got to go.

  • on December 2, 2011, 17:03 GMT

    It is indeed clear that Dravid falls in shades of others...It is becoming the same fate for Rohit also..While he plays well, someone else do better and go with the trophies....

  • TTking on December 2, 2011, 15:22 GMT

    Sometimes the best need a bit of luck to get out of a rot.....punter will confirm this with a century surely.

  • Clyde on December 2, 2011, 15:17 GMT

    If you note carefully what is said by commentators and selectors you could come to the conclusion, HawK89, that in cricket these days not everybody is thinking about the selection of the best players. You hear such notions as 'trying someone out', 'looking forward' and 'blooding'. I suggest there is a deep public suspicion of Australian cricket culture because of such notions and because the public think they are going to be presented with cake-mix players who rely for their qualities more on training that natural ability.

  • Gupta.Ankur on December 2, 2011, 14:54 GMT

    You can very well see that ponting's poor form has coincided with warne/mcgrath/gillespie/hayden/langer's exit from the team.....

    Not only did number of victories went down dramatically, so did the runs for ponting...he is mighty lucky...

  • PriyankBandhu on December 2, 2011, 14:48 GMT

    Ricky Ponting is definately one of all time greats of test cricket, but its write time for him to leave and make a place for young guys. He must retire now, on a higher note. It was very pleasing to see such a young Top 3(Warner, Hughes and Khwaja). These guys are very tallented batsman & future of Australia, they must be give ample time to get used to International cricket. I also belive players like Shaun Marsh, Cameron White & Callum Fergusion also deseves to be in the team. So, there is no place for Ricky Ponting

  • PiyushD on December 2, 2011, 14:37 GMT

    Its so strange everyone seems to be in love with Ponting again, or its just human mentality to support someone who has his chips down.

  • zico123 on December 2, 2011, 14:30 GMT

    against a weaker NZ bowling attack, Ponting might score runs, but it will be illusion to think he is back in form. rather it is his best chance to walk away on the high.

  • whitesXI on December 2, 2011, 14:18 GMT

    This idea of checking for NBs is ridiculous! If the umpire sees a NB then they should call it, if they don't see it then the bowler gets away with it, the batsmen may be unlucky, but tough, that's cricket. What is infuriating is that the umpire immediately thought that it was a NB, he told clarke not to leave the pitch coz he thought the bowler overstepped, so why didn't the umpire call it a NB in the first place! This is a gross misuse of technology making onfield umpires look stupid, and with all the concerns over missing overs due to lack of light this wastes valuable daylight where they could actually be playing the game!!! The whole reason we have onfield umpires is to make decisions on the spot, if they can no longer perform this job then there is no point having them.

  • whitesXI on December 2, 2011, 14:09 GMT

    The truth is, that when you've been around as long as Ponting there will have been times when everything falls in your favour and others when things have collapsed in a heap. Today it's luck, tomorrow back to normal. While I don't think Ponting is playing particularly well he has made his innings count with some excellent shots. As someone who's seen Ponting at his best he really does look like the shell of his old self, he can't play on forever, I just hope he makes what time he has left count and doesn't keep thinking "if I play one more game I reckon I can make a big score"

  • deepakgoil on December 2, 2011, 14:06 GMT

    This Sachin Vs Ponting is not on...two great champions with 28,000 test runs and 90 test centuries between them. Great players, in the twilight of their carrers, enjoy and savour their greatness while you can. And yes, Ponting was good today...very good.

  • on December 2, 2011, 13:55 GMT

    the article as a whole is very intresting yet the ponting bashing that has been on as of late is a bit ridicule...he popped upa catch were a short leg might have been,, thus meaning ya cant play any shot that goes arial if there might have been a fielder...the run out of usman is his own fault ya shouldnt hesitate a call from a man thats been around for decades....lbw were just not out that aint surviving...

  • cricketpurist on December 2, 2011, 13:52 GMT

    Champions know when to strike, ponting has made it clear he wants to play against India his favourite opponet and we fans relish every moment of that... he scored when it mattered in SA, HE will play well against kiwis and then he knows he has saved enough to splurge.....

  • on December 2, 2011, 13:49 GMT

    @gupta.ankur..dude i myself an indian n a big sachin fan, but check out ur facts.. Punter is a real fighter n has been solely reponsible for many Gr8 victories. Aussies r really fortunate to hav got a never say die attitude guy in their ranks... He almost overtook sachin in the no. of test centuries in mid 2000. Its just a matter of time, before ponting gets into form...

  • anur8g on December 2, 2011, 13:44 GMT

    @Gupta.Ankur: dont forgot the WC 2011 Semifinal - Sachin dropped 6 times in that match.

    @LesGrossman - totally agree with u

  • rockugal on December 2, 2011, 13:36 GMT

    I don't understand this thing of 'building' a team for the future and losing the current games.I mean what are we looking at?philip huge and david warner to open for australia for the next 10 yrs! u gotta be kidding me!when u have katich and rogers!what is going on in australia?age should not be considered only form should be.I mean this is test cricket man!u have to have solid technique.I think the australian selectors should start reading their cricket history books immediately.Is there any cricketer with a technique like huge was ever successful?

  • on December 2, 2011, 13:35 GMT

    @dms1972 !!! none of big cricket player like sachin/lara/dravid and Kailis ever had such a lean patch and still surviving...So punter is lucky to be in the playing 11...We all know and there is no doubt about that "the Ponting is really a great player" but now we had enough failure from him ... so he should leave sooner with rather later... BTW Dravid and Sachin are the only two great player of crikcet and then you can think of Ponting,Lara, Kails .....and the numbers goes on.....Ponting is best aussies player but not in wiorld...

  • on December 2, 2011, 12:59 GMT

    As a fan of cricket, I respect Ricky.. You may be fan of any gr8 player..but u shud not disrespect other gr8 players...even i m a fan of sachin..Whatever luck u survive, the runs u score matters...Ricky is one of all the time gr8s .. everybody wants to be lucky enough..so surviving by luck is not a sin..its an advantage..whats rong in that?

  • Bala74 on December 2, 2011, 12:59 GMT

    @Gupta.Ankur: Credit where it's due to Ponting. Lets not get rivalry in the way of appreciating a class act such as Ponting. Every player goes through patches where luck favours him and deserts him too. What about all those innings where Ponting got out to some freak catch or a bad umpiring decision. I believe over 150+ tests that he has played good and bad fortune evens out.

    As an Indian fan, I would love India to compete against a strong Australian side, especially Ponting in good form and win against them (I really hope we do!)

  • loung_singh on December 2, 2011, 12:55 GMT

    gupta.ankur u r right mate ponting lost three ashes series...do u knw there r still some countries where tendulkar or even india hadnt won a single series ever.!!!!!

  • LesGrossman on December 2, 2011, 12:43 GMT

    @gupta... really? really? luck has nothing to do with it, you have no idea how well this man prepares for test matches. Stop being such a sachin fanboy and respect one of the all time greats.

  • AidanFX on December 2, 2011, 12:20 GMT

    Concerning the no ball ruling in favour of Clarke- I largely share the sentiments of Taylor - not wanting see situations where players are celebrating and player is half way off the ground. I have been a critic of the checking for no-balls in DRS - I don't like the idea of reversing a decision for NBs; especially if you have a situation where say a team are in a commanding position (say 2/300); a player nicks it or is struck dead plum LBW and reviews, hoping maybe it was a NB - and a decision get reversed for a marginal NB. My feeling is players have been getting out for marginal no-balls for yonks and it has never really been an a major issue in cricket. I guess I lean towards the belief check for no-balls in DRS and only overrule if the player is a cm or more in front of line. However since the rules do insist on checking NB in DRS - even though I share Taylor's sentiments about today's incident - In the name of consistency - Sending Clarke back was then 100% the correct call

  • dms1972 on December 2, 2011, 12:15 GMT

    Gupta.Ankur is kidding right??!! Ponting has scored over 12,500 runs at an average of 53, which means he must have been partly responsible for at least some of the wins that he's been involved in. 39 Test centuries (including 5 double centuries and another 9 over 150) and 59 half centuries requires more luck than multiple winner of the lottery, if Gupta is to be believed when he says Ponting is the luckiest player ever. Or the alternative, more logical suggestion is; Ponting is one of the greatest batsmen to ever play the game. Certainly, in the last 20 years, only Lara and Tendulkar can be considered his equal.

  • unregisteredalien on December 2, 2011, 12:14 GMT

    @ those attacking Dan Brettig, WTH are you talking about? This was a perfectly respectful piece and perfectly fair reporting. If you can boast such a long and seemingly photographic memory as the author then I dare you to do better. Back on topic, as much as I've wished for Ponting to gracefully retire as his form has fallen away, it's great to see him getting some reward for toughing it out on this occasion and I'm rooting for him to complete the century tomorrow...

  • Nightwing32 on December 2, 2011, 12:08 GMT

    Umm you could say that Brownlie was lucky. Luck is part of cricket, you make your chances and you pay your dues. Ponting made most of his chance so far but it is not over yet. Clarke is to make the most of his chances because there wasn't much left in the day.

  • me54321 on December 2, 2011, 12:05 GMT

    Strange, I thought getting your pad outside the line of off stump was good technique, and not luck.I didn't have the fortune to watch much of his innings as I was at work, but I'm guessing he hasn't been dropped, edged short of the slips, or even played and missed that much. If those things happened you can call a batsman lucky, but the incidents mentioned are just typical for any innings.

  • HawK89 on December 2, 2011, 11:32 GMT

    Katich was australia's best batsmen (ignore watson run outs) then he got axed. Ponting is looking like australia's best batsmen right now, will he get the axe too?

  • disco_bob on December 2, 2011, 11:25 GMT

    "...Hopefully that changes in the next couple of years." Often a bit of luck presages a return to form after a lean period. Here's to a big 100 tomorrow.

  • ishratjamaal on December 2, 2011, 11:09 GMT

    @Daniel Brettig..what if Warne never retire...What if Gibbs has taken the catch in 99 world cup semi final of Steve. what if ?? ridiculous article...if people were not died the house would been full....he is playing well and he is the best OK!! Stop talking about the things which could have happen see the present appreciate it...

  • skkh on December 2, 2011, 11:03 GMT

    Rubbish. It seems Ricky bashing has become our national pastime.Get off his back Daniel. Here's wishing Ricky the very best.

  • Meety on December 2, 2011, 11:00 GMT

    @othello22 - agreed, getting caught twice down the legside during the Ashes was the pits for me!

  • MONASHKB on December 2, 2011, 10:51 GMT

    There is no doubt that Ponting and Clarke have had their moments of luck in this partnership. However, this is not particularly abnormal for a partnership of this size. If anything, Brownlie and Vettori had more fortune at the commencement of their partnership. I feel Ponting is probably due his ounce of luck and we should be careful not to grant a batsman of his ilk his entitlement.

  • plod on December 2, 2011, 10:43 GMT

    Great article Dan. Very insightful. The no ball that Bracewell delivered is an illegal delivery and take a bow umpire raul for referring it. That is a good use of the DRS. NZ have once again confounded everyone with a terrific effort so far. But why do you only do it against Australia? That is the problem with Kiwi cricket. Why do you need to have a axe to grind or an chip on your shoulder with someone for you to play to your ability? Fantastic batting from Dan Vettori and Brownlie. Great bowling from Tim Southee, and great fielding Kiwis! A great start to the summer and thank you N.Z. for not being the easybeats I thought you would be!!!

  • othello22 on December 2, 2011, 10:39 GMT

    LOL what rubbish, Daniel. One might as well say that for 123 deliveries, Ponting was extremely fortunate that the ball didn't miss his bat and knock over the stumps or that he should thank his lucky stars that an asteroid didn't hurtle from outer space and strike him in the face whilst at the crease. Why does everyone feel the need to diminish and cheapen Ponting's achievements? Seriously, the guy has had that much freakish bad luck in the past year or so that it would take a dozen days like today to even come close to evening the ledger. If the man scores a century tomorrow, there will no doubt be a choir of losers chanting about how he can only score runs against weak or low ranked teams. Stop making a big deal out of nothing, he's played a good knock so why not just give him credit for it?

  • Gupta.Ankur on December 2, 2011, 10:30 GMT

    I think Ponting will end his career being the luckiest Aussie captain and player ever.....Not many aussie captains would have survived 23 months without a century and 3 humiliating Ashes losses....

    Ponting might have been on the winning side the most times, but seldom he was responsible for it....

    Had been that good, he would not have lost 3 ashes series....

  • Al_Edgar on December 2, 2011, 10:06 GMT

    "Ponting took issue with Pratt's presence in place of a resting fast bowler"

    Not resting, injured.

    Pratt was on for Simon Jones, whose injuries were such that he never returned to the field of play for England again.

  • rookie4u on December 2, 2011, 9:42 GMT

    I think Ricky has a lot of cricket left in him. It is just the temporary dip of form which has led to the speculation going around and asking him to quit. I don't even see good solid bench strength who are ready to take his place. It is just a matter of a couple of good innings and he is back to what is does the best. His only problem is that Aus as a whole is not able to perform as a team. I hope that he makes a big hundred tomorrow. Good Luck Punter!!

  • on December 2, 2011, 9:42 GMT

    Can you bat better than Ponting? No, so perhaps you should show a bit of respect...

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • on December 2, 2011, 9:42 GMT

    Can you bat better than Ponting? No, so perhaps you should show a bit of respect...

  • rookie4u on December 2, 2011, 9:42 GMT

    I think Ricky has a lot of cricket left in him. It is just the temporary dip of form which has led to the speculation going around and asking him to quit. I don't even see good solid bench strength who are ready to take his place. It is just a matter of a couple of good innings and he is back to what is does the best. His only problem is that Aus as a whole is not able to perform as a team. I hope that he makes a big hundred tomorrow. Good Luck Punter!!

  • Al_Edgar on December 2, 2011, 10:06 GMT

    "Ponting took issue with Pratt's presence in place of a resting fast bowler"

    Not resting, injured.

    Pratt was on for Simon Jones, whose injuries were such that he never returned to the field of play for England again.

  • Gupta.Ankur on December 2, 2011, 10:30 GMT

    I think Ponting will end his career being the luckiest Aussie captain and player ever.....Not many aussie captains would have survived 23 months without a century and 3 humiliating Ashes losses....

    Ponting might have been on the winning side the most times, but seldom he was responsible for it....

    Had been that good, he would not have lost 3 ashes series....

  • othello22 on December 2, 2011, 10:39 GMT

    LOL what rubbish, Daniel. One might as well say that for 123 deliveries, Ponting was extremely fortunate that the ball didn't miss his bat and knock over the stumps or that he should thank his lucky stars that an asteroid didn't hurtle from outer space and strike him in the face whilst at the crease. Why does everyone feel the need to diminish and cheapen Ponting's achievements? Seriously, the guy has had that much freakish bad luck in the past year or so that it would take a dozen days like today to even come close to evening the ledger. If the man scores a century tomorrow, there will no doubt be a choir of losers chanting about how he can only score runs against weak or low ranked teams. Stop making a big deal out of nothing, he's played a good knock so why not just give him credit for it?

  • plod on December 2, 2011, 10:43 GMT

    Great article Dan. Very insightful. The no ball that Bracewell delivered is an illegal delivery and take a bow umpire raul for referring it. That is a good use of the DRS. NZ have once again confounded everyone with a terrific effort so far. But why do you only do it against Australia? That is the problem with Kiwi cricket. Why do you need to have a axe to grind or an chip on your shoulder with someone for you to play to your ability? Fantastic batting from Dan Vettori and Brownlie. Great bowling from Tim Southee, and great fielding Kiwis! A great start to the summer and thank you N.Z. for not being the easybeats I thought you would be!!!

  • MONASHKB on December 2, 2011, 10:51 GMT

    There is no doubt that Ponting and Clarke have had their moments of luck in this partnership. However, this is not particularly abnormal for a partnership of this size. If anything, Brownlie and Vettori had more fortune at the commencement of their partnership. I feel Ponting is probably due his ounce of luck and we should be careful not to grant a batsman of his ilk his entitlement.

  • Meety on December 2, 2011, 11:00 GMT

    @othello22 - agreed, getting caught twice down the legside during the Ashes was the pits for me!

  • skkh on December 2, 2011, 11:03 GMT

    Rubbish. It seems Ricky bashing has become our national pastime.Get off his back Daniel. Here's wishing Ricky the very best.

  • ishratjamaal on December 2, 2011, 11:09 GMT

    @Daniel Brettig..what if Warne never retire...What if Gibbs has taken the catch in 99 world cup semi final of Steve. what if ?? ridiculous article...if people were not died the house would been full....he is playing well and he is the best OK!! Stop talking about the things which could have happen see the present appreciate it...