Pak v Aus, 2nd MCC Spirit of Cricket Test, Headingley, 1st day July 21, 2010

Clouded thinking hurts Australia during dark day

  shares 59

As the dark, gloomy weather descended on Headingley late in the afternoon, the Australians drifted from the ground thankful to see the end of one of their grimmest days. Ricky Ponting has had some tough experiences as Test captain, but it's hard to recall an Australian team under his leadership enduring a worse day than this.

In terms of significance, decisive Ashes occasions like the second day at The Oval last year or the first at Edgbaston in 2005 are at the top of the list. But for a single, self-contained day of Test cricket, this was terrible. Australia were all out for 88, their lowest Test total in 26 years, and Pakistan passed the score with one wicket down.

Yes, the Australians can say they have a chance. At the SCG in January they were in a remarkably similar position and somehow Pakistan handed the match back. To expect the same result again is to anticipate predictability from Pakistan, and that's never a wise move.

The Australians will be left to wonder if they made the wrong decision to bat first. Ever since Ponting infamously sent England in at Edgbaston five years ago with a McGrath-less attack, batting first has been almost a Pavlovian response when the coin falls his way.

Even when logic dictates - as it did on a Sydney greentop in January or February 2009 on a Johannesburg pitch described by Michael Hussey as having branches growing off it - that bowling first is the logical move. Even when it means playing into the hands of the opposition.

The Australians never like to cede control of a Test and they feel that by bowling first, they are doing just that. They often speak of focusing on their own plans and not concerning themselves with their opponents. It's an approach that looks pigheaded when it fails.

Against a Pakistan team whose strength clearly is swing bowling, batting first under overcast skies after overnight rain defied common sense, especially given the inexperience of the Pakistan batting line-up. As Ponting himself said two days before the Test, "in Pakistan you don't generally see the ball seam around and swing around like it did last week".

So why not subject their batsmen to those hardships? Umar Gul said he was surprised at Ponting's decision, and that the Pakistanis were ready to bowl first had they won the toss. Australia's coach Tim Nielsen said the idea of sending Pakistan in was discussed, but they felt the pitch would deteriorate later in the week. The match might not get that far.

Perhaps the coin-flip didn't matter. Truth be told, Australia were outplayed in every department. When their bowlers were given a chance in the afternoon they did not display the guile and skill shown by their Pakistan counterparts. Whereas Mohammad Asif had deceived batsmen with a sequence of outswingers followed by an inswinger, the Australians possessed no such patience.

They tried to take a wicket every ball, without building to a plan. Ben Hilfenhaus bowled too straight and often saw the ball whipped through leg, while Mitchell Johnson was erratic. The bowlers say the right things about working in England - they know they must pitch it up and allow the ball to swing - but too many deliveries were banged in short of a length.

Nor did the batsmen handle the conditions with complete composure. They reached forward against the swinging ball, hoping to negate the movement but at times that exacerbated the issue, as they allowed themselves no time to adjust when the ball swerved late.

The innings was over in less than three hours, and not since 1984-85 had Australia scored so few. That was against a vintage West Indian attack at the WACA, on a day when Michael Holding, Joel Garner and Malcolm Marshall were so fearsome that Courtney Walsh didn't even have to bowl. You can bet on that occasion they weren't pitching it up and searching for swing.

Australia's SCG memories will sustain them into the second day at Headingley. They know the sun will rise again - they just hope there'll be plenty of clouds as well.

Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • CM_Kannan on July 22, 2010, 16:56 GMT

    As an Indian, I have often been surprised how India and Pakistan have managed to pull of defeats from "impossible to lose" situations... even as I will feel sad if Pakistan doesn't win this test, I won't be surprised if they lose it from here... all I really hope is they get their act together and stick to the advantage/momentum they got in the first innings... else it will be a new low for sub-continent cricket...

  • pjoe on July 22, 2010, 16:17 GMT

    @pankajkumarsingh You dont seem to understand what rooboy is saying...all he said is ponting is an excellent fielder and he won a WC final (I'm sure you remember the pasting he gave India in the 2003 final). He was not comparing him to sachin or saying he is better than sachin. The truth is sachin could not perform in a wc final as of date.. think he has been in only one..his last chance will prolly be the 2011 wc...

  • _Australian_ on July 22, 2010, 15:45 GMT

    I love reading these comments how people think 1 bad toss decision and 1 bad innings means that it is all over for the Australian teams future. we are still a very competitive cricket side and will never be easybeats like most others have been at some stage. Some things that are very obvious to anyone with half a cricket brain. 1. Australia is obviously coming back to the pack and are beatable with the recent retirements. 2. Ricky Ponting is nearing the end of his career so yes his skills are diminishing but he is still the best no.3 Australia have to choose from. All these people who are ranking his entire career on current form are clueless. As for pressure innings what about 2003 WC. Is there a bigger pressure stage? 4.Johnson clearly has issues with the Dukes ball but with the Kookaburra ball he is one of the best currently and his stats prove it. By the way this test is not over yet but I expect a Pakistan win which will draw the series and we will retain the Trophy.

  • pankajkumarsingh on July 22, 2010, 13:53 GMT

    @Rooboy - You are absolutely right in defending in Ponting. He has scored a lot of runs and did won a world cup for them (and so many other games) with his bat. And yes, Tendulkar hasnt gotten a World Cup for India (yet) although, his record in a single world cup (2003?) was the best ever performance compared to any other batsmen (Ponting included). But that wasnt the point though. Point wasnt comparing Ponting to any other batsman. Point I was making was - when Ponting hangs his boots, he would go away with two Ashes loss (did he win one in UK), lowest ever totals in Aussie history. Bottomline point was - Ponting has lowered the bar. Aussies were basically unbeatable for the most that I can remember. A win for Aus was for granted. No one even offered a fight. Now, UK, which barely has changed in last 4 yrs, can beat Aus anyday on any ground. Dont rate Ponting against Tendulkar or Lara. Rate him against The Chappels, Borber, Taylor and Waugh.

  • Gupta.Ankur on July 22, 2010, 13:18 GMT

    Ponting scored all those runs when he had absolutely no pressure to perform as he had better players and which is precisely why he had won 2 WC.

    Now for the last 2 years when he has had to be "whole sole" of Australian team he has crumbled under pressure time and again........

  • tajsh1 on July 22, 2010, 12:43 GMT

    Hiii everyoneee,

    One of the worst moment also came against Indian when the Aussies couldn't chase down 107 runs odd target in MUMBAI in 2004 and got bowled out for paltry 93. At that itme they were Stronger than now vs PAKISTAN.

  • on July 22, 2010, 12:18 GMT

    v al knw pakistani bowlers bowled superbly ...Hats off to them...but still its Australia its Ricky Pointing ,The punter v are talkin abt...that Bloke wont give up ever...evn his team has virtually one innigns to win against opposition's 2....and there is still Pakistan of which v never knw....so there is still hope fr Australia...But frm cricketin prospective its gud to c Ozs under pressure :)

  • SUNDOS on July 22, 2010, 12:03 GMT

    Is Ponting on a "self destruction" course?Tall boasts before the test match,batting first on a clod laden day ona greenish wicket.Australia better watch out,no longer the no1 test team,a captain whio hasnt had a significant score himself,Mr Cricket struggling,depending on the Watsons and Norths to take wickets..There are other test playing teams raring to knoock Australia off the pedestal.

  • Itchy on July 22, 2010, 11:55 GMT

    @pankajkumarsingh: "with all due respect to runs he has scored, he is the worst thing that has happened to Aussie cricket". Care to explain this ridiculous statement? Although his captaincy can sometimes be a bit iffy, the rest of his game is still top notch - batting has been a bit down recently though (form is temporary, class is permanent). He has won more test matches & ODIs by virtue of his batting and fielding than anyone else currently playing the game. As for leading Australia down to other teams levels, he has had to oversee the team lose Warne, Langer, Martyn, Hayden, McGrath, Gillespie, Gilchrist & Lee - more than half a team of superstars and very good players. The calibre of these players are not easily found or replaced so a period of readjustment was inevitable.

  • nazmur on July 22, 2010, 9:52 GMT

    With this bowling attack and batting line up I donot see Aussie are winning the ashes. Johnson is an overrated bowler he can't swing the ball nor as fast as tait. I think peter George deserve a chance in the team. Shane Watson should bat. At 6. Hussey should not be in all format it is hard to perform every series at this age. Australia need a good opening pair to win test matches. If Philip huges has got technical problem why don't we try s. Marsh instead or may be north with usman at 5. Mattew wade will do better than Paine.The x factor is missing in the team. S. Tait brought in oneday matches and now need some for tests as well.

  • CM_Kannan on July 22, 2010, 16:56 GMT

    As an Indian, I have often been surprised how India and Pakistan have managed to pull of defeats from "impossible to lose" situations... even as I will feel sad if Pakistan doesn't win this test, I won't be surprised if they lose it from here... all I really hope is they get their act together and stick to the advantage/momentum they got in the first innings... else it will be a new low for sub-continent cricket...

  • pjoe on July 22, 2010, 16:17 GMT

    @pankajkumarsingh You dont seem to understand what rooboy is saying...all he said is ponting is an excellent fielder and he won a WC final (I'm sure you remember the pasting he gave India in the 2003 final). He was not comparing him to sachin or saying he is better than sachin. The truth is sachin could not perform in a wc final as of date.. think he has been in only one..his last chance will prolly be the 2011 wc...

  • _Australian_ on July 22, 2010, 15:45 GMT

    I love reading these comments how people think 1 bad toss decision and 1 bad innings means that it is all over for the Australian teams future. we are still a very competitive cricket side and will never be easybeats like most others have been at some stage. Some things that are very obvious to anyone with half a cricket brain. 1. Australia is obviously coming back to the pack and are beatable with the recent retirements. 2. Ricky Ponting is nearing the end of his career so yes his skills are diminishing but he is still the best no.3 Australia have to choose from. All these people who are ranking his entire career on current form are clueless. As for pressure innings what about 2003 WC. Is there a bigger pressure stage? 4.Johnson clearly has issues with the Dukes ball but with the Kookaburra ball he is one of the best currently and his stats prove it. By the way this test is not over yet but I expect a Pakistan win which will draw the series and we will retain the Trophy.

  • pankajkumarsingh on July 22, 2010, 13:53 GMT

    @Rooboy - You are absolutely right in defending in Ponting. He has scored a lot of runs and did won a world cup for them (and so many other games) with his bat. And yes, Tendulkar hasnt gotten a World Cup for India (yet) although, his record in a single world cup (2003?) was the best ever performance compared to any other batsmen (Ponting included). But that wasnt the point though. Point wasnt comparing Ponting to any other batsman. Point I was making was - when Ponting hangs his boots, he would go away with two Ashes loss (did he win one in UK), lowest ever totals in Aussie history. Bottomline point was - Ponting has lowered the bar. Aussies were basically unbeatable for the most that I can remember. A win for Aus was for granted. No one even offered a fight. Now, UK, which barely has changed in last 4 yrs, can beat Aus anyday on any ground. Dont rate Ponting against Tendulkar or Lara. Rate him against The Chappels, Borber, Taylor and Waugh.

  • Gupta.Ankur on July 22, 2010, 13:18 GMT

    Ponting scored all those runs when he had absolutely no pressure to perform as he had better players and which is precisely why he had won 2 WC.

    Now for the last 2 years when he has had to be "whole sole" of Australian team he has crumbled under pressure time and again........

  • tajsh1 on July 22, 2010, 12:43 GMT

    Hiii everyoneee,

    One of the worst moment also came against Indian when the Aussies couldn't chase down 107 runs odd target in MUMBAI in 2004 and got bowled out for paltry 93. At that itme they were Stronger than now vs PAKISTAN.

  • on July 22, 2010, 12:18 GMT

    v al knw pakistani bowlers bowled superbly ...Hats off to them...but still its Australia its Ricky Pointing ,The punter v are talkin abt...that Bloke wont give up ever...evn his team has virtually one innigns to win against opposition's 2....and there is still Pakistan of which v never knw....so there is still hope fr Australia...But frm cricketin prospective its gud to c Ozs under pressure :)

  • SUNDOS on July 22, 2010, 12:03 GMT

    Is Ponting on a "self destruction" course?Tall boasts before the test match,batting first on a clod laden day ona greenish wicket.Australia better watch out,no longer the no1 test team,a captain whio hasnt had a significant score himself,Mr Cricket struggling,depending on the Watsons and Norths to take wickets..There are other test playing teams raring to knoock Australia off the pedestal.

  • Itchy on July 22, 2010, 11:55 GMT

    @pankajkumarsingh: "with all due respect to runs he has scored, he is the worst thing that has happened to Aussie cricket". Care to explain this ridiculous statement? Although his captaincy can sometimes be a bit iffy, the rest of his game is still top notch - batting has been a bit down recently though (form is temporary, class is permanent). He has won more test matches & ODIs by virtue of his batting and fielding than anyone else currently playing the game. As for leading Australia down to other teams levels, he has had to oversee the team lose Warne, Langer, Martyn, Hayden, McGrath, Gillespie, Gilchrist & Lee - more than half a team of superstars and very good players. The calibre of these players are not easily found or replaced so a period of readjustment was inevitable.

  • nazmur on July 22, 2010, 9:52 GMT

    With this bowling attack and batting line up I donot see Aussie are winning the ashes. Johnson is an overrated bowler he can't swing the ball nor as fast as tait. I think peter George deserve a chance in the team. Shane Watson should bat. At 6. Hussey should not be in all format it is hard to perform every series at this age. Australia need a good opening pair to win test matches. If Philip huges has got technical problem why don't we try s. Marsh instead or may be north with usman at 5. Mattew wade will do better than Paine.The x factor is missing in the team. S. Tait brought in oneday matches and now need some for tests as well.

  • on July 22, 2010, 9:50 GMT

    @johntycodes...such frivolous comments make u a clown. last year johnson was the leading wicket taker against SA and faltered only in the ashes. he scored a 100 at cape town...and was among the wickets the recently concluded home season. where r u mate??..which world....dont get lost in ur dreams...this aint inception dude

  • on July 22, 2010, 9:47 GMT

    I'm sure Pakistan will pluck defeat from the jaws of victory, but I always love seeing Australia suffer. They are so triresomely good.

  • Rumour on July 22, 2010, 9:32 GMT

    The best thing that might come out of this is if they get rid of Ponting as captain....

    I should add that I'm a SAFFA and don't have Oz's best interest at heart ;-)

  • ihaq1 on July 22, 2010, 8:59 GMT

    one thinks that ricky is just not good enough to captain in england..he has wooden thinking at times..in any other country no captain would survive after such tours of england...australia are just frightened to appoint a clarke or a hussey who might be worse and they obviously dont want a watson or katich or mitchel johnston either...u can see ricky ponting frightened of bringing on watson when he might bowl another five wicket for bowling and destroy his credibility further...maybe the australians should consider watson as a vice captain who can than advise the captain how to bat and bowl...?

  • johntycodes on July 22, 2010, 8:49 GMT

    What I want to know is how johnson keeps getting a game. The bloke hasn't made a run for 2 years and is our worst bowler in the team. Someone please explain?

  • pjoe on July 22, 2010, 8:24 GMT

    The next best captain we have is clarke, It would be best for Australia if Ponting hangs on for a few more years. Clarke does not seem captain material. So let's cut him some slack here. @angel ponting has won 2 world cups as captain

  • vxttemp on July 22, 2010, 8:07 GMT

    Rooboy@: Pls don't bring tendulkar into this. If my team has bowlers like mcgrath/gillespie/warne/Lee, Do u know the confidence/arrogance it gives me? On most occassions the pressure under tendulkar was can't be compared to anyone. Pls don't tell me about ponting and steve waugh's captaincy. For me the best captains are Hansie crojne, Imran Khan, Sourav ganguly, Mark taylor and border. The worse captain for me is Tendulkar. But I bet, he would have been in the ranks with such a bowling attack :-)

  • mojojesus on July 22, 2010, 7:58 GMT

    its a nice feeling to see aussies getting battered !! :) .... its makes my day !

  • zippydingdong on July 22, 2010, 7:52 GMT

    Settle down people,you think Australia will make 88 in their second innings!You guys went balistic on the first day of the 1st test and look what happened.Ponting is one of the most successful captain and cricketers ever,no need to bag him.All of Pakistans captains would be struggling to achieve what he has put together.Please lets see what the next day brings.And they say test cricket is dead,i'd rather watch this over the mugs game of T20.

  • m.a.khokhar on July 22, 2010, 7:22 GMT

    Wow what a perfomance by Paki bowlers now its ince again totally up to the batsmen to take substential lead in this match to give the bowlers onother chance to dominate OZ.. and am not agree that ponting is worst captain.. he s the best captain and best batsman in the world no doubt bout it.. GOOD luck Pakistan Long Live Pakistan.....

  • on July 22, 2010, 6:52 GMT

    High time Aussie's bite the dust again....

  • antiboson21 on July 22, 2010, 6:51 GMT

    Firstly congratulations to pak fans, atleast something o cheer about. Excellent bowling by Pakistani bowlers. Secondly, a very poor captaincy descion of batting by Ricky Ponting under cloudy conditions against one of the deadliest and feared bowling attack. Secondly coming to pakistani batting and previous sydney test fiasco. Sydney test was doudgy, affected by match fixing and player differences in pakistani camp. Now pakistan should try young blood in batting line up and should stick to one single captain in test for 2 years. Now, this test match, pakistani batsman should play sensibly. Each batsman should play the way he plays but with respect to test match. If pakistan cross 250 runs today, u have my words Australia will not come back in this match unless pakistani players delibrately lose due to any reason. Being professional Pakistani batsmen and then bowlers should crush Australia to teach them a lesson. A gift to Aus before their best friends drink their blood in Ashes,lol

  • on July 22, 2010, 6:44 GMT

    Thanks Nikhil .... U have wonderful mental vision Hurray ! I wish Pak and India had one team ... i bet no one could have beat us even one test, odi or t20.

  • maddy20 on July 22, 2010, 6:31 GMT

    Good performance by Pakistani fast bowlers. I guess the Aussies were over confident after their last win and that had bit them in the bum!

  • Asif_Iqbal on July 22, 2010, 6:13 GMT

    Pakistan is the team that always increases the confidence of Australia as they lost the test many times against them in a very commanding position. As I remember it was started in 1999 when Pakistan lost the Sydney test in a very commanding position with the help of good bating from Gilly and one of Aussie's opener and few bad decisions from umpire against the Pakistan.

  • binrasheed on July 22, 2010, 6:11 GMT

    Well we have so many things to discuss but,right now the only thing which we shoud appreciate is the bowling of Pakistan, we should understand that the international cricket is no more in Pakistan still giving a performance like this against the team like Australia................... wow ................. WELLL DONE PAKISTAN

  • angel on July 22, 2010, 5:54 GMT

    hey hey hey! calm down guys. I am a Pakistani fan but I do follow Aussies and RSA (because these two always put a fight). some guys are saying Ponting is worst captain ever, hold on a minute the guy has won you three ODI world cups in a row, two times best winning streak in test matches, he is always performing with the bat and has 2nd highest test runs under his belt, I don't know what else he should do to be a good captain. You say he is not able to make a bold decision, well I guess the decision he made to put his team for batting in testing conditions wasn't of a coward and mind you he was not the only one to decide there, whole team management was in this. So, please think before ridiculing a great player with nonsense comments. Aussies still have a chance because Pakistan has this bad habit of gifting the match to opposition in recent past. But, I desperately want them to win this one atleast.

  • jonesy2 on July 22, 2010, 5:48 GMT

    cricket shouldnt be played in england fullstop. its a joke. i dont even take notice of any game played in england even ashes tests in england are irrelevant.

  • nikhil_mandavkar on July 22, 2010, 5:42 GMT

    I am indian but I had always supported Pakistan when they are not playing against us. I am thrilled to see such a fantastic bowling performance, though conditions were favouring the bowling but even then in the manner which they have destiryod aus, is fantastic to see. Now, My only advise to Pak Bat that play sensibliy , don't loose your wicket, you have all the time to build your innning and score as many as you can, may be 250 lead should be sufficient. All the best.

  • Rooboy on July 22, 2010, 5:34 GMT

    @pankajkumarsingh - you're probably right to say that Punter is the worst leader since Border became captain, but not being as good of a captain as Border, Taylor or Waugh is hardly an massive indictment given that those guys are some of the best captains cricket has seen. But how can you say Ponting ' is the worst thing that has happened to Aussie cricket'?! Are you serious?! The guy has scored over 10000 test runs, he is one of the best fielders you would EVER see, even now in his 'old age', he has basically won a World Cup final off his own bat (something the 'mighty' tendulkar can't do ...), and for a few years there in the early-mid 2000s he destroyed opposition attacks in a manner rarely seen. So I can understand your negativity towards his captaincy, because it ain't always great, but the rest of your post is ridiculous. As for this game, at least the Pakistanis will get great odds to back Australia at before giving it away in the second dig.

  • on July 22, 2010, 5:27 GMT

    While I was dismayed byAustralia's score when I woke up this morning, after seeing the highlights it seems there was really not much they could do against a Pakistant bowling line-up that was really firing on all cylinders. I never like to see my own team/country make such a paltry total, but I can't feel too miffed when it's the result of some absolutely sublime bowling. Full credit to Pakistan, you don't often see bowlers dominate like this any more. This is what makes test cricket such a compelling spectacle...

  • on July 22, 2010, 5:20 GMT

    THE WAY PAKISTAN BOWLERS HAVE TROUBLED THE AUSTRALIAN BATSMEN WITH THEIR NAGGING AND TESTING LENGTH IS WORTH WATCHING AND ATROCIUOS TOO. EVERY BALL THEY HAD BALLED IN THAT INNINGS WAS LOOKING LIKE UNPLAYABLE. I THINK PUNTER HAD FORGET THE WAY PAKISTAN BOWLERS HAD MADE THEIR BATSMEN STRUGGLE ON THE PITCH WHICH ASSISTS BATSMEN NOT THE BOWLERS. BUT IN THIS MATCH IN WHICH OVERCAST CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED PUNTER HAD COMMIT THE SUICIDE AFTER WINNING THE TOSS AND BATTED FIRST. BUT I WILL GIVE FULL MARKS TO MY LOVING AND FAVOURITE TEAM PAKISTAN THAT OUR BOWLER UTILIZED THE OVERCAST CONDITIONS VERY INTELLIGENTLY. NOW AT EVERYTHING IS DEPEND ON OUR BATSMEN. OUR BOWLERS HAVE DONE THEIR TREMENDOUS JOB BUT NOW IT IS OUR BATSMEN JOB TO IMPOSE A COMMANDING TOTAL SO THAT WE CAN IMPOSE PRESSURE ON THEM WHEN THEY COME TO BAT IN THE 2ND INNINGS. HISTORY WITNESSED WHENEVER PAKISTAN TEAM ADDED YOUNG BLOOD, THEY ALWAYS RESPONSE POSITIVELY. WEL DONE TEAM PAKISTAN. COME AND RULE THE WORLD AGAIN.

  • imirfan on July 22, 2010, 5:06 GMT

    with young wasim akran (amer) and not so young mecgrath ( asif ) Pakistan is the best team

  • dmqi on July 22, 2010, 4:53 GMT

    Two more fifties will give pakistan a clear edge, but if there are two centuries by the Ausis in the second Innings, who knows who will win this match. Ponting will not get a free win like in Sydney for sure.

  • on July 22, 2010, 4:16 GMT

    lol.... i so wish tht pak cld win....its so humiliating to read again n again tht we havent beaten aussies in past decade n half and more humiliating to give away matches like we did in SCG this year.... but this time bloody yousuf is not around i dont think there ld be a political issue in the team.... BUT we have a bigger issue now with BUTT gone who ld score runs and take our lead to ato atleast 200...even though 206 lead ws not enough but once again this time we might get em out again... I dunno this Paki team is so unpredictable.... u never knw wht they come out with.... i wish UMER scores a good hundred....and malik a fifty..... and akmal a 40 odd.... :P being over optimist i guess... but Pakistan.. one can never knw ... 20 runs and all out... :S FINGERS CROSSED BOTH OF HANDS AND TOES.... :P

  • on July 22, 2010, 3:54 GMT

    When things goes wrong everyone crush their Captain, players, and the team. Now you can Imagine what Bangladesh goes through with players they currently have and had.Even Bangladesh dont get ALL out on 88 against Pakistan!!!

  • on July 22, 2010, 3:46 GMT

    Once again Pakistan's ell settled batters, despite all in command, did not convert their score to to bigger number as if the job was done in a 50 overs short versions. They will have to get used to big scores. But finally seeing the some luck smiling, they may now sooner ready now to fill that gap too - as of now, so far so good.

  • Hodra99 on July 22, 2010, 3:33 GMT

    Come on people...one bad day at the office and everyone on here is calling for Pontings head...Sure given his time again he would have bowled first, but he has been a great captain...last week he was hailed as a genius for using Marcus North the way he did, when other so called "experts" were questioning his tactics...Last week Australia smashed Pakistan and have only lost 3 of their last 18 test matches (2 draws also). Australia have lost many 'stars' over the past couple of years, yet still remain more than competitive in test cricket. Have some faith Aussie supporters and start acting a little more "Australian".

  • John_Richardson on July 22, 2010, 3:30 GMT

    Now I know this might seem like a knee-jerk reaction to Australia's egregious batting performance, but I think that wholesale changes need to be made to Australia's batting line-up. I think that it's time to bring in Rogers or Jaques to open. Move Watson down the order. Drop Hussey and North, and Punter should retire - he's been out of sorts for too long now. Replace them with White and Khawaja (not forgetting that Jaques/Rogers will open with Katich). So the new battling line-up should look something like this: Katich, Rogers/Jaques, Clarke, White, Khawaja, Watson, Haddin. Maybe even bring David Hussey in?

  • TEST_CRICKET_ONLY on July 22, 2010, 2:18 GMT

    And once again Ponting shows what a poor captain he is. Does he have to lose yet another Ashes series before they wake up and get rid of him ?

  • pankajkumarsingh on July 22, 2010, 1:46 GMT

    It amazes me when people say Ponting is the best ever in this generation. Ponting probably is the worst leader (and no excuses please) Australia has produced since I started following cricket when Border became the captain. There are so many occasions when Aussies has its worst during Ponting era. With all due respect to runs he has scored, he is the worst thing that has happened to Aussie cricket. Mind you, they had set the bars that was totally unreachable. Ponting lowered it where Eng/Pak/Ind successfully challanged Aussie dominance

  • tfjones1978 on July 22, 2010, 1:20 GMT

    Ponting has never had the guts to make a bold decision, and the tests in the last couple of years have proved that.

    Ricky Ponting was never our best captain. Shane Warne was a great player and a great captain. He should have been Vice Captain to Steve Waugh and took over from him until he retired. Haven been given the Captancy I am sure Warne would have won us more games then Ponting and would have stayed on even longer as he would have had more to prove in the game.

    That said, Australia has to move on and the best way of doing this is to scrape a captain that doesnt have the guts to be captain (he never has). Lets look at the recent past great captains: Steve Waugh, Mark Taylor, Alan Border. All great captains, not because they had a great side, but because they build a great side that Ponting received as a gift. All of these captains had the guts to make a call and not be scared when their call was bad.

    So ponting made a mistake 5 years. Not learning from it cost him a lot more.

  • ToMegaTherion1986 on July 22, 2010, 1:00 GMT

    WTF happened guys? Well i guess it has been coming for a while our batting has been pretty up and down for a couple of years now so i suppose this was bound to happen at some point. I think Hussey and Ponting need too think long and hard after this match about their futures in the Australian team. Australia has a lot of good young batsman coming through the ranks that will do very well in test cricket, i think it's time to give them a chance to prove it before the coming Ashes series. Khawaja I want to see in the team for the third Test for Hussey. Ponting, if i were a selector, he would have the third test to do something good, bring back some consistancy and show us the Ponting of old, or face the axe purely on inconsistancy. one score every 3-4 games is not good enough of a team like Australia. A batsman should be scoreing runs; ie: At least a fifty every 2.5-3.5 innings on average.

  • on July 22, 2010, 0:51 GMT

    How many teams in the world could destroy Australia like the way Pakistan did today!!! Congrats Pakistan even though i am not a Pakistani. All you need now is just one or two very good batsman in your team.

  • on July 22, 2010, 0:32 GMT

    Wow i nvr thought the aussies were going to bat this bad today but u nvr know the aussies are a rllly good team even thought im paki i have to say the aussies always have great spirit and thats what rlly counts spirit today pakistan had rlly good spirit and they did it they just didnt let pakistan make runs but inshallah pakistan will win! i hope they do but still the team that wins is the team that works the hardest, has great spirit, and works as a team! So best of luck to both teams! inshallah the best and most hardworking team will win! :D <3

  • on July 21, 2010, 23:52 GMT

    TOOO OPTIMISTIC BUT REALITY BITES! Lightening rarely strikes twice! and then again! Its more of a line and length then, late swing, and australians seldom got that right in comparison to our brilliant seamers! AUSSIE STARTED TAKING US FOR GRANTED! AND A PAYBACK IS NOT A SWEET THING! as we all know! FINGERS CROSSED!

  • MontyHall on July 21, 2010, 22:43 GMT

    If Ponting cannot trust his own judgment whether to bat first (which he clearly cant) he should follow the simple rule: do what the opposition would not like to do, in this case, send them in to bat.

  • on July 21, 2010, 22:28 GMT

    pakistan has no doubtedly the best bowlers in the world

  • __PK on July 21, 2010, 22:17 GMT

    Pakistan are only 60 ahead with 7 wickets left. The lower order has proven very shaky recently. Plus Pakistan have trouble with the Australian refusal to let test matches die. This is far from Australia's worst day recently.

  • Winsome on July 21, 2010, 21:43 GMT

    'The Australians never like to cede control of a Test and they feel that by bowling first, they are doing just that'

    I think you'll find that's Punter, not 'the Australians'. I'm pretty sure not all the batsmen were quite as keen as him to bat.

  • on July 21, 2010, 21:30 GMT

    I am happy for the pakistan team...I believe they have a very strong bowling attack and in English conditions they have exploited it to the hilt.

    Wish they had atleast an above average batting which is has been there bugbear in many occasions. There is not a single batsmen in the line up of say Innazamans calibre..

  • _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on July 21, 2010, 21:17 GMT

    I think that every now and again, Ponting makes decisions as if he was still leading the dominant Aus team of yesteryear lol. I still think that he has the ability to find new ways to win but that's just it, he FINDS them when things aren't going as planned. He seems to be limited to reacting. Pak bowlers were brilliant and cashed in on the conditions and brutally exposed Ponting's thinking. Still, as we alll saw in the 1st test where he found ways to win via Watson and North, he could well find ways to make the match close and avoid a 2 innings to 1 defeat.

  • on July 21, 2010, 20:57 GMT

    Oh my God! NOW does everyone believe this Pakistani bowling attack is legendary or what?!

    Cricinfo, an article on the bowling attack of Pakistan please :)

  • adil8 on July 21, 2010, 20:46 GMT

    Pakistan Hopefully is able to beat Mighty Australians!! So Pleasing For Pakistani Fans Like Myself :)

  • Winsome on July 21, 2010, 20:40 GMT

    Bloody marvellous bowling from the Pakistan bowlers. Really top-notch. And pretty much rubbish from the Aussies when their turn came.

    But I think we can blame this on the batsmen and their inability to play any kind of patient innings. Clarke was a case in point. He was trying to get out, I swear he was. Shows how important Katich is to the Aussies these days. If he doesn't score we are right royally screwed.

  • on July 21, 2010, 19:54 GMT

    "on a day when Michael Holding, Joel Garner and Malcolm Marshall were so fearsome that Courtney Walsh didn't even have to bowl."

    haha!

  • on July 21, 2010, 19:45 GMT

    After the sydney test and the 20/20 worldcup, 3rd time should be the charm for pakistan.

  • on July 21, 2010, 19:38 GMT

    Oh boy, Sri Lanka on the verge of beating India and Pakistan on top against Australia. Couldn't be more perfect being a Sri Lankan :P

  • Scgboy on July 21, 2010, 19:33 GMT

    good writeup & to the point. Punter and the boys have to dig deep.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Scgboy on July 21, 2010, 19:33 GMT

    good writeup & to the point. Punter and the boys have to dig deep.

  • on July 21, 2010, 19:38 GMT

    Oh boy, Sri Lanka on the verge of beating India and Pakistan on top against Australia. Couldn't be more perfect being a Sri Lankan :P

  • on July 21, 2010, 19:45 GMT

    After the sydney test and the 20/20 worldcup, 3rd time should be the charm for pakistan.

  • on July 21, 2010, 19:54 GMT

    "on a day when Michael Holding, Joel Garner and Malcolm Marshall were so fearsome that Courtney Walsh didn't even have to bowl."

    haha!

  • Winsome on July 21, 2010, 20:40 GMT

    Bloody marvellous bowling from the Pakistan bowlers. Really top-notch. And pretty much rubbish from the Aussies when their turn came.

    But I think we can blame this on the batsmen and their inability to play any kind of patient innings. Clarke was a case in point. He was trying to get out, I swear he was. Shows how important Katich is to the Aussies these days. If he doesn't score we are right royally screwed.

  • adil8 on July 21, 2010, 20:46 GMT

    Pakistan Hopefully is able to beat Mighty Australians!! So Pleasing For Pakistani Fans Like Myself :)

  • on July 21, 2010, 20:57 GMT

    Oh my God! NOW does everyone believe this Pakistani bowling attack is legendary or what?!

    Cricinfo, an article on the bowling attack of Pakistan please :)

  • _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on July 21, 2010, 21:17 GMT

    I think that every now and again, Ponting makes decisions as if he was still leading the dominant Aus team of yesteryear lol. I still think that he has the ability to find new ways to win but that's just it, he FINDS them when things aren't going as planned. He seems to be limited to reacting. Pak bowlers were brilliant and cashed in on the conditions and brutally exposed Ponting's thinking. Still, as we alll saw in the 1st test where he found ways to win via Watson and North, he could well find ways to make the match close and avoid a 2 innings to 1 defeat.

  • on July 21, 2010, 21:30 GMT

    I am happy for the pakistan team...I believe they have a very strong bowling attack and in English conditions they have exploited it to the hilt.

    Wish they had atleast an above average batting which is has been there bugbear in many occasions. There is not a single batsmen in the line up of say Innazamans calibre..

  • Winsome on July 21, 2010, 21:43 GMT

    'The Australians never like to cede control of a Test and they feel that by bowling first, they are doing just that'

    I think you'll find that's Punter, not 'the Australians'. I'm pretty sure not all the batsmen were quite as keen as him to bat.