India v Australia, 1st Test, Mohali, 5th day October 6, 2010

Bollinger's absence hurt us - Ponting


October 24, 2009. Brett Lee joins the Australian team barely 12 hours before the toss for the first ODI of the gruelling seven-match series. Till then, Lee has been occupied in winning New South Wales the Champions League Twenty20. On the day of the match, with Harbhajan Singh and Praveen Kumar threatening a heist with the bat, Lee pulls up sore. End of series.

It's déjà vu in October 2010 in certain ways. Doug Bollinger, after a successful Champions League, arrives here two days before what turns out to be an all-time great Test, bowls impressively in the defence of a modest total, and when he is on absolute fire, running through the Indian batting with his aggression and hostility, he has to pull out because of abdominal pain. After an over in which he bounces Harbhajan Singh out, Bollinger is not available through the rest of the innings.

"I actually had him ready to bowl the next over," Ricky Ponting said later. "I went to grab his hat off him for the start of his next over and he said he'd felt some pain in one of his abdominals, and being a fast bowler and having that sort of injury I just sent him off the ground straight away." Ponting, captaining an Australian side not dominant any more and hence in need of every resource it can get hold of, didn't hide his disappointment last year. He is not hiding it this year.

"It would have been nice to have another fast bowler to rotate through when we needed that breakthrough," Ponting said. "At that stage, Doug had bowled just the one spell as well, so he would have been nice and fresh. When you are bowling at the tail, you need those strike options. That said, we used five other bowling options, but none of them could give us that result."

Ponting - not obligated, unlike many other international players, to always sing praises for the leagues - and the Australian team management haven't been a fan of the clashes the various leagues create with national duty, the preparation part more than the actual playing part. They have all been concerned about the late arrivals of Bollinger and Michael Hussey.

There is nothing to ensure that Bollinger wouldn't have been injured had he trained with the Australian team for the last 10 days, but it helps a captain to know that his strike bowler has not been away playing in a private league until two days before a Test.

"It probably doesn't help," said Ponting of Bollinger's Champions League commitments. "But he'd been bowling, and that's one positive for Doug that he'd been playing competitive cricket. "He probably hasn't been bowling the amount of overs in the Champions League that some of the others have had coming over here, but the facts are that he's been playing, he arrived a couple of days before the game.

"I thought his work before that was very good, I thought his spell today was probably the best he's bowled during the game, so [it was] disappointing for him to go down at the end there, it hurt us a lot."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on October 9, 2010, 9:19 GMT

    CustomKid I can assure you no ones jealous of Ponting. Let him score some runs in India, or do something credible as a captain first. :)

  • Ravi on October 8, 2010, 17:58 GMT

    I dont think anotherfresh bowler would have made any difference.. they had Nathan Hauritz but ponting did not have enough confidence in him ( dont blame ponting with the way he bowled).. better luck next time.. Very Very Very Very Special Laxman was too hot for Aus to handle..

  • Jassie on October 8, 2010, 0:13 GMT

    "'""'Grapes are Sour""" "''Aussies are simply complaning. Ponting think about Luxman and Sharma, they were injured as well and Sharma was off the field for long time. Luxman came in to bat at number 10in the first inning. Consider this if Luxman was fit and batted at his usual position in the first innings..India would have (possibly) taken a lead. Hussy complaing about CLT20. Raina and Dhony played same match as well. And Zaheer, Tendulkar, Harbhajan were there as well playing CLT20.

  • Dummy4 on October 7, 2010, 16:03 GMT

    Well done SFay, congratulations you've got the attention you needed. :) Obviously no point trying to make u understand the various things which make cricket so exciting, but yeah one comment u made was interesting, regarding the pitch. I just wondered what made u think BCCI would take a leaf out of CA's book and ask for flat pitches? Please refer to Sydney 2004 and Adelaide 2008.

    P.S. : I wont be surprised if u come back and say that you'd ve won in both Tests. LOL

  • Benjamin on October 7, 2010, 10:50 GMT

    C'mon Indian folks - don't be jealous of our Ricky. Just because he owns practically every trophy in the game is no reason to hate him, while your god SRT owns very few. Little man syndrome is what you all possess. He's a hard player who is a good captain and does it well. Another thing SRT failed to handle. Why would you crucify him over his comments in this article? Had India lost I'm sure MSD would have pointed out injuries to VVS, Sharma, and Gambhir as the journalist would have asked 'how did that impact your performance?' They are genuine reasons for both sides. If Australia was to win the next and the journalist asked 'did the inexperienced replacements hurt your side?' If he replied yes we weren't at full strength would that be an excuse?? No it would be a genuine reason just like Pontings answers. Such insecure people on this sight it's laughable.

  • Dummy4 on October 7, 2010, 9:52 GMT

    i win is a win.and dont talk like india won by skin of its teeth etc.. aussies is a good team,through india.but fails in bowling 60%,thats the indian,they did well,ishanth ,zaheer &bhaji worked well.and dont just prase is best captain than ponting.............just remember that!!!cheers 4 dhoni

    Mahendra singh Dhoni 's greatest fan, Fawaz

  • Runster on October 7, 2010, 9:34 GMT

    @MOLLAMARIS Wad do u mean "I am happy that the australians have their priorities right country first club later unlike some Indian legends who would prefer to pull out of ODIs and tests for rest rather than from IPL" THE ONLY AUSTRALIANS THAT BOYCOTT THE IPL ARE THE ONES THAT CANT PLAY T20 CRICKET!!!!!!!!! Ricky ponting! Michael Clarke has not hope in T20 and hence OPPOSES the IPL!!! IPL is a fantastic opportunity for international cricketers to fine tune the new form of the game and indian domestic cricketers to vs internationals. AND BOLLINGER AND HUSSEY ditched their "country" team to play for an INDIAN club!!!!! So much for "ADMIRATION" for the "LOYALTY" of your country man!!!!!! btw, i am a test cricket fan, so dont think i am a complete t20 lover! btw, i dont think many captains admire pontings ways. Ponting shud have RETIRED last year!

  • Harmon on October 7, 2010, 8:30 GMT

    @ SFay:

    You are completely clueless about the concept of reverse swing and therefore equate it with ball tempering. Btw, Simon Jones et al destroyed Oz in 2005, was that due to ball tempering too? Brett Lee also get a bit of reverse swing going, is he a ball tamperer too?

  • Michael on October 7, 2010, 8:01 GMT

    Australia has always been the crying baby when they lose any match. Even for us when Ishant was bowling at his best he got injured and hardly managed to bowl in the next part of the Australia's second innings. Who knows they might have been bowled within much less score than they actually have. Again regarding the Indian players weakness we have talking about short pitch stuff. Think about the conditions they have grown in with. Even the best of the countries are always susceptible when they are playing outside their own courtyard. We Indian's only have the time to criticize the Indian players nothing else. No other country have the time to criticize their players as they love to celebrate when they win rather than cribbing all the time. Change your attitude or stop commenting.

  • vivek on October 7, 2010, 7:49 GMT

    guys.. that was an awesome game of cricket. one of the best test match ever. because both the teams put their best in. there were many "ifs and buts" like bollinger, ishant and laxman being injured and poor umpiring of course. but it was a great game. lets all enjoy the game. and hope for the best for the next match..

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