August 10, 2009

Ponting's was the innings that mattered

Marcus North was Man of the Match for his second hundred of the series, and even Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann nearly scored as many but, for me, Ricky Ponting's was the innings of the match
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Marcus North was Man of the Match for his second hundred of the series, Michael Clarke scored more runs than him, and even Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann nearly scored as many but, for me, Ricky Ponting's was the innings of the match - and, arguably, even the innings of the series.

Rightly, batsmen are judged not merely by the number of runs they produce but the quality of those runs. It was clear from the merry romp of England's ninth-wicket pair that batsmen can do plenty of things once the pressure has lifted. With nothing to lose, and nothing to fear, Broad and Swann were able to flay the same bowlers who terrorised their top-order colleagues for two successive days. Ponting, though, switched on his act when the match was still open.

When a Test side gets bowled out for about a hundred runs on the first day, it is natural to assume that the conditions are tilted heavily towards the bowlers. Australia entered the match with a history of weakness against swing bowling. It cost them the series in 2005 and the Test at Lord's this summer, and when the ball swung for one session at Edgbaston they lost seven wickets for 77. In most cases, bowling your opponents out for 102 in the first innings is good enough win a Test, but only if your own batsmen don't perform as badly.

Ponting had gone missing after a big hundred in his first appearance in the series, and the pitch at Cardiff was so benign that only six Australian wickets fell in 180 overs. In the previous innings, when Australia were in danger of losing the Test, he was bowled through the gate by an offspinner, the species that has troubled him throughout his career. And he came to the crease here after Steve Harmison, a man returning to the Ashes battle, had claimed an early wicket with a nasty, steepling ball that Simon Katich was forced to fend off in front his face. The first ball he faced from Harmison zipped through Ponting's bat and his body, not far from the inside edge.

From here, Ponting produced 78 off 101 balls. At one point, he was 32 off 20 balls, with five fours and a six. It was thrilling, counter-attacking batting on a pitch that still had plenty for the bowlers. It can be argued that England bowled poorly to him but often a great batsman in supreme touch can have that effect on bowlers. By the time he was out Australia were ahead by 38 runs and would have had to bat like zombies to lose the Test from there.

As the years roll by, the scorecard will reveal Ponting's contribution as one of the half-centuries in a match Australia utterly dominated. The truth is that it was the defining innings of the match. It had every ingredient that makes a great innings: counter-attack, supreme skills, the purest of strokes, and most of all, coming when it truly mattered.

Sambit Bal is the editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • rama on September 5, 2009, 9:05 GMT

    My foot. His Captaincy is very good that is why he lost two Ashes. He had great bats. & bowls. with him. Anyone so endowed cannot but win. All said and done his Captaincy is worse than pedestrian.

  • satyam on August 30, 2009, 18:44 GMT

    not for the first tym ponting has produced such an innings.his career has been punctuated wid such knocks.his counter offence has been simply admirable.he showed that he remains indispensible for his team.to prolong the pontin V tendulkar debate ,well tendulkar may b more soothin to eyes i mean is a visual treat but pontin is clrealy more effective.tendulkar is simply tendulkar but ponting can do both a tendulkar n a sehwag.

  • Sanjay on August 12, 2009, 3:00 GMT

    Awesome piece. Spot on. Liked your other article you wrote recently on Michael Clarke.

  • Nipun on August 12, 2009, 2:58 GMT

    I don't know why there is so much fuss about the Ponting vs Tendulkar debate.Tendulkar is better as a batsman than Ponting on a whole,even if only slightly,but Ponting is miles ahead as a captain.Sachin,for all his undoubted genius & shrewd tactical mind,& with a mind which understands the game far more than almost any other player in the world,somehow has never managed to be a great captain,although he had the Dravids,Gangulys,Kumbles,Srinaths during his tenures.Ponting is much criticised for his captaincy;I don't know what the shit is wrong with his captaincy.He utilised his full strength team to the max when they won(again)16 wins on the trot;in fact,the later wins in the streak were without Warne,McGrath,Langer & Martyn!Now that the team is almost completely new & going through a tough rebuilding phase,he has yet delivered results with such a new team with the burden of extreme high expectations.

  • Samjay on August 11, 2009, 21:34 GMT

    @Criclover, Forget about Indians; go to Cricinfo's player description. Even they believe that Ponting has weaknesses against quality fast bowling (Ishant Sharma/Zaheer Khan, in recent memory) and let's not even talk about what a Joke he is against spin. The bloke did not play against some of the great fast bowlers, against whom Tendulkar and Lara made their names. Heck, I don't even count him in the same class as the Waughs. Most of his so-called gigantic scores were built on platforms provided by Hayden and Langer.

  • Akash on August 11, 2009, 19:19 GMT

    This certainly was a top class counter-attacking knock. While the English could have bowled better, Ponting's aggression (just what was needed to maintain Australian dominance) and quality of strokeplay were excellent. And what a fabulous response to the army of booing spectators! (though I think many did it for a lark, especially after Mr. Giles' commandment :)

  • warren on August 11, 2009, 15:42 GMT

    Im a Ponting fan (in terms of his batting not his leadership) and an Australia fan, but i think the article is a little off. Pontings innings was good, but like he does in most innings nowadays, showed a vulnerability ealier on. The Harmison delivery couldve taken the edge and Enlgand wouldve been on fire. Fate was at hand then. Ponting is a great though and im not rying to take that away from him. one other thing - instead of trying ot dtermine who the best is between Ponting, Lara and Tendulkar - why not just imagine a middle oreder of those 3. Ponting, Lara and Tendulkar. I dont think you can separate them. They are all special in their own right.

  • UmeshD on August 11, 2009, 14:44 GMT

    Just Great article Mr Bal. I watched and loved this innings despite of not being a Ponting fan as such.

    Just one last comment. Can we restrict readers comments to ones related to the original post please ?

  • AV on August 11, 2009, 13:36 GMT

    @criclover : what a joke "only indians put Tendulkar ahead of Ponting" - the whole world does, btw do you think "Don Bradman" was indian????? Indeed Ponting is a great batsman but his leadership qualities havent been tested before as he was blessed with legends(Hydos, Mcgrath, Warne....) in his team, so coming 1-2 years will show his credentials. As far as batting is concerned Tendulkar is far ahead.

  • Anshu on August 11, 2009, 13:21 GMT

    @Rob: maybe you were not a follower of indian cricket in the '90s when on virtually every overseas tour, Tendulkar was in at somthing like 20/2. We had one decent opener in Siddhu, and till around 1999 Dravid wasn't a factor either (In fact, if you remember, in the 3-test series in Australia in 1999, both the openers as well as Dravid kept on failing, Tendulkar got 2 bad decisions - Adelaide and Sydney - and still got a hundred and a couple of fifties, with both Warne and Mcgrath in the opposition.)

    Not to discredit Punter (an all-time great for sure), but he did play with good openers like Slater & Taylor and then Langer & Hayden (not to mention the follow-up of the Waughs, Gilchrist, Martin).

    @Criclover: You are ignorant if nothing else. DON BRADMAN, Viv Richards, McGrath, Warne, Donald, Wasim, Waqar, Hadlee, Fleming, Boycott, Willis, Hussain, Murli, Vaas are just some of the luminaries who have descibed Lara and Tendulkar as the 2 greatest modern batsmen. R they Indians??

  • rama on September 5, 2009, 9:05 GMT

    My foot. His Captaincy is very good that is why he lost two Ashes. He had great bats. & bowls. with him. Anyone so endowed cannot but win. All said and done his Captaincy is worse than pedestrian.

  • satyam on August 30, 2009, 18:44 GMT

    not for the first tym ponting has produced such an innings.his career has been punctuated wid such knocks.his counter offence has been simply admirable.he showed that he remains indispensible for his team.to prolong the pontin V tendulkar debate ,well tendulkar may b more soothin to eyes i mean is a visual treat but pontin is clrealy more effective.tendulkar is simply tendulkar but ponting can do both a tendulkar n a sehwag.

  • Sanjay on August 12, 2009, 3:00 GMT

    Awesome piece. Spot on. Liked your other article you wrote recently on Michael Clarke.

  • Nipun on August 12, 2009, 2:58 GMT

    I don't know why there is so much fuss about the Ponting vs Tendulkar debate.Tendulkar is better as a batsman than Ponting on a whole,even if only slightly,but Ponting is miles ahead as a captain.Sachin,for all his undoubted genius & shrewd tactical mind,& with a mind which understands the game far more than almost any other player in the world,somehow has never managed to be a great captain,although he had the Dravids,Gangulys,Kumbles,Srinaths during his tenures.Ponting is much criticised for his captaincy;I don't know what the shit is wrong with his captaincy.He utilised his full strength team to the max when they won(again)16 wins on the trot;in fact,the later wins in the streak were without Warne,McGrath,Langer & Martyn!Now that the team is almost completely new & going through a tough rebuilding phase,he has yet delivered results with such a new team with the burden of extreme high expectations.

  • Samjay on August 11, 2009, 21:34 GMT

    @Criclover, Forget about Indians; go to Cricinfo's player description. Even they believe that Ponting has weaknesses against quality fast bowling (Ishant Sharma/Zaheer Khan, in recent memory) and let's not even talk about what a Joke he is against spin. The bloke did not play against some of the great fast bowlers, against whom Tendulkar and Lara made their names. Heck, I don't even count him in the same class as the Waughs. Most of his so-called gigantic scores were built on platforms provided by Hayden and Langer.

  • Akash on August 11, 2009, 19:19 GMT

    This certainly was a top class counter-attacking knock. While the English could have bowled better, Ponting's aggression (just what was needed to maintain Australian dominance) and quality of strokeplay were excellent. And what a fabulous response to the army of booing spectators! (though I think many did it for a lark, especially after Mr. Giles' commandment :)

  • warren on August 11, 2009, 15:42 GMT

    Im a Ponting fan (in terms of his batting not his leadership) and an Australia fan, but i think the article is a little off. Pontings innings was good, but like he does in most innings nowadays, showed a vulnerability ealier on. The Harmison delivery couldve taken the edge and Enlgand wouldve been on fire. Fate was at hand then. Ponting is a great though and im not rying to take that away from him. one other thing - instead of trying ot dtermine who the best is between Ponting, Lara and Tendulkar - why not just imagine a middle oreder of those 3. Ponting, Lara and Tendulkar. I dont think you can separate them. They are all special in their own right.

  • UmeshD on August 11, 2009, 14:44 GMT

    Just Great article Mr Bal. I watched and loved this innings despite of not being a Ponting fan as such.

    Just one last comment. Can we restrict readers comments to ones related to the original post please ?

  • AV on August 11, 2009, 13:36 GMT

    @criclover : what a joke "only indians put Tendulkar ahead of Ponting" - the whole world does, btw do you think "Don Bradman" was indian????? Indeed Ponting is a great batsman but his leadership qualities havent been tested before as he was blessed with legends(Hydos, Mcgrath, Warne....) in his team, so coming 1-2 years will show his credentials. As far as batting is concerned Tendulkar is far ahead.

  • Anshu on August 11, 2009, 13:21 GMT

    @Rob: maybe you were not a follower of indian cricket in the '90s when on virtually every overseas tour, Tendulkar was in at somthing like 20/2. We had one decent opener in Siddhu, and till around 1999 Dravid wasn't a factor either (In fact, if you remember, in the 3-test series in Australia in 1999, both the openers as well as Dravid kept on failing, Tendulkar got 2 bad decisions - Adelaide and Sydney - and still got a hundred and a couple of fifties, with both Warne and Mcgrath in the opposition.)

    Not to discredit Punter (an all-time great for sure), but he did play with good openers like Slater & Taylor and then Langer & Hayden (not to mention the follow-up of the Waughs, Gilchrist, Martin).

    @Criclover: You are ignorant if nothing else. DON BRADMAN, Viv Richards, McGrath, Warne, Donald, Wasim, Waqar, Hadlee, Fleming, Boycott, Willis, Hussain, Murli, Vaas are just some of the luminaries who have descibed Lara and Tendulkar as the 2 greatest modern batsmen. R they Indians??

  • Straddler on August 11, 2009, 12:54 GMT

    @Rob and @Criclover: Perhaps you guys missed the cricket played in the 1990s and pre-2003. The Ponting era only started in 2003 (he debuted in 1995), the year that marked the beginning of a bull-run in batting averages for several world batsmen (Ponting averaged ~48 till 2003, while even Lara happened to be below 50 at the start of '03).

    By 2003, most of the greats (bowlers and batsmen) of the 90s were all at the fag ends of their careers or already gone - Waqar, Wasim, Saqlain, Mushie, Ambrose, Walsh, Bishop, Donald, Pollock among bowlers; Lara, Waugh twins, Inzi, Anwar, Aravinda among top batsmen (while Tendulkar was largely injured during 03-05); in Australia too, careers were winding down for legends like the Waughs, Warne and Mcgrath.

    It was in the above backdrop that Ponting's pre-eminence grew in Australian and world cricket. Till then, the prize catches for bowlers were guys like Lara, Tendulkar, the Waughs, Inzamam, Aravinda and Anwar.

  • Neil on August 11, 2009, 12:40 GMT

    @Criclover: Though I dont wish to deride Punter as a batsman; your comments on placing him above Lara/Tendulkar are way off the mark. a) if your team is built of champions; even a Bopara could captain that team & be termed a great leader considering success. Jokes apart, its not just Indians who consider Tendulkar as the premier bat of this era; but scores of legends like Benaud, Richards, Hadlee etc...& not to mention same-era bowlers like Warne, Donald, Wasim & McGrath for instance. However, there's no argument of Punter's capability as a batsman - though its fair to say he will continue to be overshadowed by Sachin/Lara when the greatest bats of this era are mentioned. Like it or not, that's the truth.

    The last innings was good, though not one that can be remembered for eternity - Punter has quite of few of other gems that will stand th test of time & talked about - like somebody posted here earlier; his innings against the Saffers in Aus were real 'gems' albeit in a losing cause

  • Straddler on August 11, 2009, 12:23 GMT

    C'mon folks!! The 2 most decisive performances in this match have to be those of STUART CLARK & SIDDLE. The fate of the match was virtually decided in the 1st session when Clark, Siddle and Hilfenhaus destroyed the English. Only a monumental cock-up by the Aussie batsmen, or an epic Flintoff-or-Botham-esque spell could have averted defeat.

    Ponting was imperious, no doubt, but the English brains were frazzled by their shocking capitulation. This was a seaming track, not a quick & bouncy track, and they kept on pounding it short repeatedly (instead of as a surprise weapon).

    Michael Clarke still owns the best innings of the series, and will likely be the Man of the Series (unless Freddie, with some help from the Cricket Gods, can deliver another brave-heart epic).

  • parth on August 11, 2009, 12:04 GMT

    totally agreed....dat really was a gutsy one wid a purpose

  • A S K on August 11, 2009, 11:14 GMT

    At last Sambit, you have written something nice on Fickleinfo about an Australian cricketer. It's been a long time. Well done - it didn't hurt now, did it?

  • Parthipan on August 11, 2009, 7:35 GMT

    Yes, it was counter attacking innings but not more than that. As the headline goes that was not full of purest strokes. I think the author is virtual manager of Ponting. And for @ rob, mind you Sachin, with the opening problems in Indian test teams more often than not comes in at 10 for 2 within the first hour or atleast session in most of the away matches.

  • Roscoe on August 11, 2009, 6:37 GMT

    Clark's bowling on the 1st morning ... Ponting's batting ... Clarke's counter attack 2nd morning meant that there'd be no quick breakthroughs ... North's steady innings ... Johnson's 3 quick strikes before stumps ... spare a thought for Harmison, had Clarke been given out off the glove that would have been approx 178/5 & England could have got back into it. MOMs are silly things, & little moments turn games.

  • Criclover on August 11, 2009, 5:55 GMT

    Ponting is the greatest batsman of all time right after Don Bradman. He led an invincible Aussie team for five years and now building up another invincible aussie team. He is a great leader as well a great batsman. Did Tendulkar and lara could do something like that? Yes, Lara was also a great leader and great batsman but could not build up a great team. About, Tendulkar he is just a batsman. World has seen how he chocked when he was a leader. I do always laugh when only the indians put Tendulkar ahead of Ponting.

  • Neil on August 11, 2009, 5:16 GMT

    Its a travesty comparing Ponting to Lara n Tendulkar. For majority of their careers, these guys had to play in weak teams - one with weak bowling & the other with weak batting; which is not the case with Ponting. And since most people forget that bowlers win test matches; most of the influential runs scored by these 2 chaps get overlooked most of the time - simply because the team failed to win. Finally speaking of the innings that mattered - well, I would have given more credit to Ponting if he had managed to score runs in the last test match; where he bumbled & opened up the gates of an english sniff at victory. Regardless of what most say; I still believe Steve waugh is the greatest Oz batsman I have seen playing.

  • Mick G on August 11, 2009, 2:59 GMT

    Very true Mr Bal! That thing that sets Ponting apart fromthe rest is his ability to play innings that sets the rest of the team up. Just like Viv Richards of yesteryear it is not the number of runs, of which there a plenty, but how they make them that counts. There are numerous innings you can recall where Ponting led from the front, in essence the perfect No. 3! Yes, he may not be as astute tactically as others but all the players play for him because he is their man.

  • Rohington on August 11, 2009, 2:17 GMT

    A little perspective please? 1) @Rob: your comment reveals that you haven’t watched any cricket before the 2000s. Your remark is patently false. Even if in only your mind it is true, then as per that logic there should be a dozen or more batsmen who are “slightly ahead” of Viv Richards.

    2) Sambit is correct when he says that it was the innings of the match. But to elevate this innings to some “all time” great level is ridiculous. Aus were batting in the afternoon sun; the pitch had dried out and was much better; Onions was bowling (a relative newcomer); Basically a raw Onion(s); Harmison a shadow of his former self; Anderson had just tweaked something; Broad was flat; Aus were chasing a pitiful total….so innings of the match-certainly. But we need to stop right there.

  • Capnles on August 11, 2009, 1:39 GMT

    A fine piece of writing Sambit, as per usual, but I'm going to have to disagree with you on both counts. Yes, Ponting's innings was important in killing off whatever psychological fortitude the Poms had left, but it took the patience of Marcus North and Michael Clarke to put Australia in the unassailable position at which their inning closed. You could argue that they wouldn't have been able to do this job without the excellent attack of their captain before them setting the scene, but I'm of the belief that the extra time in the field caused by the the Clarke/North partnership and late hitting from the likes of Stuart Clark (that was gold) really killed off the English resistance.

    If Australia are to retain the Ashes, it would be impossible to go past the 3rd test partnership of Clarke and North as the defining moment of Australia's Ashes defence. One false step by either man and the series could have been all but over.

    Also, I'm hoping that Hilfenhaus gets player of the series

  • trey on August 11, 2009, 1:17 GMT

    I too believe that ponting,s innings played a crucial part in Australia's win. He took the attack to England's bowlers from the word go

  • Tapas on August 10, 2009, 22:04 GMT

    Pointing normally play very well in vital match. This was a great innings from him. One should not compare Tandulkar, Lara & Pointing since they all are class of its own.

  • Visvesh on August 10, 2009, 21:38 GMT

    Well said Sambit, Ponting counterattacked in a manner that put the game out of England's reach.. and he is the greatest batsman after bradman though many of us indians may not agree... Ponting is much stronger against pace bowling and one of the finest exponents of the hook and pull shots...

  • Sharath on August 10, 2009, 21:27 GMT

    No, Sambit. "Coming when it truly mattered" would have been if Ponting had played the way he did with a 400-run deficit. That's pressure. Chasing 102 in the first innings of a test match, no matter what the pitch is like and no matter who is bowling, is not.

    I'm not contesting Ponting's skill here, but to suggest he scored runs in this test match "when it truly mattered" is pushing it a bit.

  • sukh on August 10, 2009, 20:23 GMT

    what about Broads performance,no support from other bowlers and batsmen

  • Sha on August 10, 2009, 19:58 GMT

    I think y'all are looking too much into this. Sure, Harmison had some his tail up... there might have been something more in the pitch than usual - given the rate and type of scoring - commendable... but to call it the innings of the series thus far shows exactly why the Ashes has been so attractive this time around - and it's not a fight between the two best teams in the world by far...

  • Yogesh on August 10, 2009, 18:54 GMT

    I think the Ponting and Watson partnership deserves enormous credit. Of course, Ponting being the aggressor in the partnership deserves the greater credit but any wicket there would have got Hussey and confidence for England. And on a lighter note, why is that suddenly indian columnists (u & Samir) are praising Ponting ? And Sambit, what about your promised weekly selection of best articles ? When did we see it last ?

  • AB on August 10, 2009, 18:49 GMT

    I know it was a fast bowler's wkt, where the first 12 wkts had already fallen to the quicks. Should Strauss have thrown the ball to Swann just for gamesmanship, when he saw ponting laying into the quicks?? Desperate times called for desperate measures

  • Aninda on August 10, 2009, 18:19 GMT

    Very well written.

  • Ravee on August 10, 2009, 17:29 GMT

    Yes indeed Ricky played an inning of class. I watched his demener form the get go. He simply saw the opening and set up the kill. Well done mate

  • Ravee on August 10, 2009, 17:28 GMT

    Yes indeed Ricky played an inning of class. I watched his demener form the get go. He simply saw the opening and set up the kill. Well done mate

  • Srikanth on August 10, 2009, 17:26 GMT

    Yes, this was the thing that took the game away very quickly. After seeing the way the Aussies swung the ball, Harmison and co would have been amped up. The thrashing he gave them put them on the defensive very quickly. Also, England's main bowlers, Anderson and Harmison, are confidence bowlers- they bowl well when on top. When he tonked them around, their shoulders drooped and their confidence visibly dropped. Lastly, the psychological impact of seeing their total passed with just one wicket down in about 20 overs would have shattered the morale of the english team while giving confidence to the following batsman that the pitch wasnt a snakepit. Both sides pretty much knew that point that the game was over.

  • sushant singh on August 10, 2009, 17:01 GMT

    well . I agree with you mr. Sambit , that truly was an mazing inning , well played ricky , this is the quality that separates him from the rest of the batsman , amazing to see him play like that.

  • roger on August 10, 2009, 16:49 GMT

    Hi fellows, I agree Ponting's innings was classy but what's with the Punter-worship that's going on here? Any self-respecting batsman will try and attack when the opposition is down and out( bowled for 102), I mean one session of aggressive batting and you'll have the lead. And Ponting has the shots , so he did what was expected , nothing so special or great to eulogize him. And by the way Rob, Tendulkar comes in at 2nd wicket down and which means THROUGHOUT the 1990'S he was India's 20/2 Man and has played many more influential knocks (more than Punter). If you consider both forms of the game (opener in ODIs) and the quality of opposition he has faced , u would be way off the mark if think Ponting is better than him.(look at his stats against Australia in both versions of the game) And regarding Lara , he's in a different league ... really special.

  • Vishal on August 10, 2009, 16:48 GMT

    I absolutely agree with you on this - I was watching the highlights and felt the same thing - Ponting came out to bat with one thing in his mind - he wanted to make a statement to his team mates that there is nothing wrong in this pitch and we can score runs and get a huge lead. Because many a time when a team gets the opposition out for a low score, their own batsmen think that it must not be easy batting on this surface which is why Ponting was all agression showing the way for his younger batsmen.

  • Ashok on August 10, 2009, 16:44 GMT

    Its very true , i believe too . that Rick's was the innings that mattered, he fought the fear out for the rest to come and bat.

  • ashish on August 10, 2009, 16:11 GMT

    This was an innings that reflected punter.Absolutely No Fear.That six of onions. Wow.I Think He is the greatest player and also a great captain. All those who say that he won previously because of warne and mcgrath, should look at the facts. Punter is the batsman with most hundreds as captain That tells he leads from the front.Some other captains like jayawardne resigned from captaincy when team started loosing, But punter never stepped down, even though they lost to india in india and sa at home. That tells something about this great man. He is a great captain. All teams need bowlers to win . Can sri lanka win without murli n mendis, can india win without bhajji and previously kumble, look at england without flintoff.A captain is as good as his team.So i would ask all my fellow indians to respect this great man, coz he wouldn't be at loss but we will be if we fail to appreciate the greatest oz after bradman.

  • siba mohanty on August 10, 2009, 15:53 GMT

    Totally true. Punter just bamboozled the English, killing whatever chance they had fancied to save the game on a lively track...Great story...

  • PJ on August 10, 2009, 15:25 GMT

    I agree the innings set up the match, but don't credit Ponting for it, Englands bowlers just bowled to his strength (short balls) allowing him to score easy runs. Everyone knows Ponting struggles early on against the full moving ball and England just got it wrong. I feel you are giving Ponting way too much credit

  • Nipun on August 10, 2009, 15:21 GMT

    Man,you are some writer,I tell you.How are you so deadly right & accurate ??? Couldn't agree with you more.....

  • Rev on August 10, 2009, 15:21 GMT

    Could not agree more. I think Ponting's latest effort is indicative of his captaincy - he leads from the front. Whilst he is not a cerebral captain such as Fleming was, he is a fighter and shows an inexperienced Australian squad how it is done. I hope the Australians can wrap up the Ashes at the Oval, and continue to gel as a unit, as I believe much of the criticism directed his way since the big retirements has been most unwarranted.

  • barun aryal on August 10, 2009, 15:17 GMT

    well said ya ricky pontings ining made the difference but its not only of this match but off late he has been the most important and valued player for the aussie.

  • Kranthi Sarva on August 10, 2009, 15:15 GMT

    I completely agree with you Sambit. This time, Ponting started singing the song, then Clarke and North joined the chorus. He also proved that when needed, he was always there and went on to win the game. He made sure England would never be in the game. The way the pressure was put on England was amazing. He always had faith in Mitch who made sure to level the series.

  • Sriram on August 10, 2009, 15:08 GMT

    Succinct!!!

  • Venky on August 10, 2009, 15:01 GMT

    Excellent analysis, you are so correct. I agree with you Pointing Strategy to attack and get upper hand on the match was good idea and it worked for him. Later runs coming from other batsmen were bonus. Indeed it was his knock that gave them the edge. Great credit to Australian bowler especially Stuart Clark, finally his inclusion was creating pressure since runs never come from his overs. Great article Sambit, keep it up.

  • David on August 10, 2009, 14:59 GMT

    This is so true. Ponting's innings was the defining moment of the match. I think he set the tone for the rest of the Australian batsmen. When Ponting does well, Australia tends to do well too.

  • Jayaraman on August 10, 2009, 14:57 GMT

    When I saw the way Punter started the innings- I know he is going to set up the game for Australia and make the batsmen coming after him feel comfortable Yes Ponting set up the win for Australia

  • Rob on August 10, 2009, 14:36 GMT

    Good article.In a way that's what sets Ponting and Lara a little above Tendulkar for me.Often in very early and facing the new ball with a pumped-up fast bowler,not the luxury of of a 4 or 5 when the shine is gone and the bowlers tiring,especially Ponting.

  • Rob on August 10, 2009, 14:36 GMT

    Good article.In a way that's what sets Ponting and Lara a little above Tendulkar for me.Often in very early and facing the new ball with a pumped-up fast bowler,not the luxury of of a 4 or 5 when the shine is gone and the bowlers tiring,especially Ponting.

  • ray chaudhuri on August 10, 2009, 14:35 GMT

    Coudnt agree more. A great innings from a class act and i think he is the greatest bastman in the world currently.

  • Zeeshan on August 10, 2009, 14:34 GMT

    Very Well Judged and Said Mr. SB... Coudnt agree with you anymore... It was a Masterful Innings....

  • Zaman on August 10, 2009, 14:30 GMT

    Pure judgement! Ponting may be not the best Assuie Captains but a man used to be part of a legendary team got an inexperienced team, He holds the key to success of this team. Whenever he gave australia a positive start, other follow him. Many centuries can be scored but such an inings defines the greatness of a player, a true champion. He may not score most centuries or be highest run getter in the longer version of the game but he is a real champion,a legend, leader of an evolving team. An warrior fighting to keep the honor at its peak!

  • Josbo on August 10, 2009, 14:16 GMT

    In the process, Ponting likely deep sixed Harmison's ambitions of a comeback. It would be shocking to see England comeback from a performance like that, where Broad was the only player who didn't play like he was running for his life.

  • Francis.Jerome on August 10, 2009, 14:09 GMT

    Yes it True.It is ponting innning made diffrence. It is inning which worth more than it run count. That made all others batasman to follow comfortable.

  • bibhuti bhushan kumar on August 10, 2009, 14:08 GMT

    It was an inning that set the tempo for much needed win and boost to the aussies. Some innings are of immense importance thogh lesser in no. It was as such in effort by the great of this era.

  • Anonymous on August 10, 2009, 14:04 GMT

    That was truly a gud innings from Punter.Eventhough I was not able watch the live action on TV, I couldn't take off my eyes from cricinfo scorecard.

  • mpiper on August 10, 2009, 13:57 GMT

    Gotta love pointing!

  • Sridhar on August 10, 2009, 13:53 GMT

    Couldn't agree with you more Mr.Bal. I was actually hoping that he would get the Man of the Match award for his innings but the wise men - as usual - were swayed by numbers. Marcus North, no doubt, played a fine innings but Punter's knock took the game decisevely from England.

  • Yogesh on August 10, 2009, 13:37 GMT

    Gotta agree with your comments, Sambit. Analysis and writing spot on, as always. Thanks!

  • dave on August 10, 2009, 13:33 GMT

    awesome mate, well done, well written, and well done punter

  • P.Satish on August 10, 2009, 13:32 GMT

    The article ends up being blinkered in its attempt to worship Ponting. What about Watson? A man whose innings in first-class as opener read like a telephone number did the tough job of hanging in there with Ponting. Watson was also the supposed to be the weak link of the batting and with Katich out it would have made life much tougher for him. In such a situation to actually get a third consecutive half-century and in such a crunch match was just as brilliant if not more so.

    Anyway, it was disappointing not to see a bowler get the MoM as the Australian bowlers were the real heroes considering the position they put their team in by lunch on Day One.

  • Janaka Perera on August 10, 2009, 13:25 GMT

    Yea. I agree with you Sambit.You have correctly read it that batsmen are judged not merely by the number of runs scored but by the quality of the scoring. Punter is the world's best batsmen for me and I am certainly sure that the top run scoring and possibly hundreds records will be his by the time he calls it the day. he such a wonderful wonderful player that when he is in form the entire Aussie team is in form. Well done Punter! Well done Sambit!

  • Prashant on August 10, 2009, 13:23 GMT

    SPOT ON! It was undoubtedly Ponting who tipped the balance…perhaps just in that ONE Onions over! Recently against SA in Aus,Ponting played two gems, 100 and 99...and Aus still lost the match!! So, this is one of my pet peeves... In all these silly so called best innings rankings, innings in which the team ultimately loses are not counted!! What the....! There are 21 OTHER players playing the game for god’s sake! The batsman can only do the best he can...period. As you mention, Pontings inn. as years go by will probably go down as just a "half century" but often its just the little cameos ( and sometimes even that ONE single stroke!) that can inflict the psychological damage….and these never show up as the wonders they are in any form of statistical analysis.

  • Kartik on August 10, 2009, 13:21 GMT

    I could not agree more with Sambit. Ponting's natural flair against the fast bowlers is unparalleled in cricket. He has all the shots and above all a temperament and great sense of occassion. His innings in the world cup 2003 final is one I can never forget (and I am sure it scarred many Indian fans like me forever). If we were to look at the number of scintillating match turning knocks that Ponting has played in both forms of the game (t20 is hardly a form of the game) he would have the highest quality innings among modern batsmen. Sachin, Lara, Inzi, Dravid would all be slightly behind. He is the best batsmen of fast bowling and if not for his frailties against spin, he would be talked in the same breth as Lara and Sachin. Right now he is a shade below. It boggles my mind how any cricket lover can boo or deride him, like many English and fellow Indian fans. I think they are just jealous.

  • faisal on August 10, 2009, 13:14 GMT

    You know why i love your writtings that much,for this,truely for this magnificent apprehension of infitesimal aspects which actualy focus on truth.That very moment when ponting launched onion for a six with his semi-pull(ponting's own) the fate of the match is written.It was an innings of true guts,a perfect signature of a timeless class.

  • Anonymous on August 10, 2009, 13:10 GMT

    excellent article well done

  • Jake Edwards on August 10, 2009, 12:54 GMT

    Could not agree with you more Mr. Bal. Punter once again lead from the front. Yours is a very insightful article. Thank you.

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  • Jake Edwards on August 10, 2009, 12:54 GMT

    Could not agree with you more Mr. Bal. Punter once again lead from the front. Yours is a very insightful article. Thank you.

  • Anonymous on August 10, 2009, 13:10 GMT

    excellent article well done

  • faisal on August 10, 2009, 13:14 GMT

    You know why i love your writtings that much,for this,truely for this magnificent apprehension of infitesimal aspects which actualy focus on truth.That very moment when ponting launched onion for a six with his semi-pull(ponting's own) the fate of the match is written.It was an innings of true guts,a perfect signature of a timeless class.

  • Kartik on August 10, 2009, 13:21 GMT

    I could not agree more with Sambit. Ponting's natural flair against the fast bowlers is unparalleled in cricket. He has all the shots and above all a temperament and great sense of occassion. His innings in the world cup 2003 final is one I can never forget (and I am sure it scarred many Indian fans like me forever). If we were to look at the number of scintillating match turning knocks that Ponting has played in both forms of the game (t20 is hardly a form of the game) he would have the highest quality innings among modern batsmen. Sachin, Lara, Inzi, Dravid would all be slightly behind. He is the best batsmen of fast bowling and if not for his frailties against spin, he would be talked in the same breth as Lara and Sachin. Right now he is a shade below. It boggles my mind how any cricket lover can boo or deride him, like many English and fellow Indian fans. I think they are just jealous.

  • Prashant on August 10, 2009, 13:23 GMT

    SPOT ON! It was undoubtedly Ponting who tipped the balance…perhaps just in that ONE Onions over! Recently against SA in Aus,Ponting played two gems, 100 and 99...and Aus still lost the match!! So, this is one of my pet peeves... In all these silly so called best innings rankings, innings in which the team ultimately loses are not counted!! What the....! There are 21 OTHER players playing the game for god’s sake! The batsman can only do the best he can...period. As you mention, Pontings inn. as years go by will probably go down as just a "half century" but often its just the little cameos ( and sometimes even that ONE single stroke!) that can inflict the psychological damage….and these never show up as the wonders they are in any form of statistical analysis.

  • Janaka Perera on August 10, 2009, 13:25 GMT

    Yea. I agree with you Sambit.You have correctly read it that batsmen are judged not merely by the number of runs scored but by the quality of the scoring. Punter is the world's best batsmen for me and I am certainly sure that the top run scoring and possibly hundreds records will be his by the time he calls it the day. he such a wonderful wonderful player that when he is in form the entire Aussie team is in form. Well done Punter! Well done Sambit!

  • P.Satish on August 10, 2009, 13:32 GMT

    The article ends up being blinkered in its attempt to worship Ponting. What about Watson? A man whose innings in first-class as opener read like a telephone number did the tough job of hanging in there with Ponting. Watson was also the supposed to be the weak link of the batting and with Katich out it would have made life much tougher for him. In such a situation to actually get a third consecutive half-century and in such a crunch match was just as brilliant if not more so.

    Anyway, it was disappointing not to see a bowler get the MoM as the Australian bowlers were the real heroes considering the position they put their team in by lunch on Day One.

  • dave on August 10, 2009, 13:33 GMT

    awesome mate, well done, well written, and well done punter

  • Yogesh on August 10, 2009, 13:37 GMT

    Gotta agree with your comments, Sambit. Analysis and writing spot on, as always. Thanks!

  • Sridhar on August 10, 2009, 13:53 GMT

    Couldn't agree with you more Mr.Bal. I was actually hoping that he would get the Man of the Match award for his innings but the wise men - as usual - were swayed by numbers. Marcus North, no doubt, played a fine innings but Punter's knock took the game decisevely from England.