Pak v Aus, 2nd MCC Spirit of Cricket Test, Headingley, 2nd day July 22, 2010

Ponting matches Tendulkar's pace


Ponting v Tendulkar
When Ricky Ponting guided a boundary to third man off Mohammad Aamer and moved to 40, it made him the second man in Test history to score 12,000 runs. Sachin Tendulkar has enough of a lead to suggest that Ponting might never catch his aggregate but there will always be passionate debate about the respective merits of both men. Incredibly, 12,000 runs couldn't split them on statistical terms. Tendulkar reached the milestone in his 247th Test innings and how many do you think it took Ponting? Yep, 247.

Umar Akmal's no-brainer
The conditions were dark and gloomy. Pakistan just about held the upper hand. They needed batsmen like Umar Akmal to apply themselves and lengthen their stay at the wicket. Instead, from the fifth ball of the morning Umar, in an unpardonable act that should not go unpunished, went for a wild slog, trying to clear Mitchell Johnson over mid-off. It was an easy catch held nicely by Simon Katich, but the Pakistani was spared as the bowler was penalised for a marginal no-ball. It was a no-brainer from Umar, who had thrown his wicket away in the second innings at Lord's three balls before lunch. Then, as today, he committed the mistake at a critical moment of the match. The Australians did not curse too much as Johnson worked Umar out easily with a neat outswinger that took a thick outside edge, further exposing Umar's brittle mindset.

Malik follows suit
It was becoming contagious, playing headless shots. After the Pakistan middle-order crumbled without any fight, Shoaib Malik was left to marshal the tail. Sadly, instead of taking charge Malik even took a single to give Danish Kaneria the strike once. Then half an hour after lunch Shane Watson pitched on length and all Malik could do was go for a desperate loft, exposing his indecisiveness, and the catch was held by Tim Paine.

Up periscope
While several players in Pakistan's batting line-up won't want to see the footage of their dismissals, Umar Amin's was especially replay-worthy. Amin ducked a Hilfenhaus bouncer but forgot to lower his bat along with his body. The ball hit flush on the blade and lobbed out to square leg, where Marcus North took a straightforward catch. Amin hesitated for a moment, seemingly unable to believe what had just happened, before he trudged off.

Lunch crunch
The lunches served up to the players at Headingley must be high quality. What else could explain two wickets falling in the first over after lunch on each of the first two days? On the first day, it was Mohammad Aamer who rattled the stumps of Steven Smith and Johnson, and on the second Shane Watson sent back Kamran Akmal, who edged to slip, and Aamer, who was given lbw padding up. Four men in two days who wanted to get back to the buffet in a hurry.

Run-out chaos
As with many things relating to Pakistan, the last ball of their innings was surrounded by utter confusion. Mohammad Asif's leading edge lobbed to mid-off, where Smith ran in to collect on the bounce and threw down the stumps with Danish Kaneria having taken off for a single. Kaneria dived back in an attempt to make his ground, but then scrambled up and attempted an overthrow when the ball ricocheted off the stumps. Rudi Koertzen at the non-striker's end ducked to avoid a second throw that went to the wicketkeeper in another run-out attempt, and again Kaneria sprawled to make his ground. But in the meantime, Koertzen had called for a replay on the initial throw from Smith and Kaneria had been caught short.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo, Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Billy on July 26, 2010, 3:24 GMT

    Faircricket7, since you asked for valid and logical points on Bradman's greatness, I'm happy to provide you some. I wasn't aware that the current period is the hardest to play good cricket. Because in the 1920s and 1930s, you had to travel for months in a ship, step out of the ship, train for a while and play. The life was hard because there was a something called a Great Depression and so unemployment was very high. Your family and friends may have been lost just five years earlier in something called a World War. By the mid-1930s, another war was happening. Which environment would you want to play cricket in: the current period or the Bradman period? Also, is the competition better nowadays? By my count, there are only ever four good Test nations at any one generation with the exception of the 1980s. And if you say Bradman never faced Sri Lanka and India, Tendulkar never faced the West Indies in the 70s and 80s.

  • Billy on July 26, 2010, 3:14 GMT

    Just to clarify my own position on the matter, I believe that Tendulkar is a better batsman than Ponting, and that the margin is wide but not as wide as some of the fans on the forum are saying. A lot of people use the argument that there is so much pressure on Tendulkar and every time he goes to bat, the weight of India's fortunes rest with him. What rubbish! From the late nineties, India have had a talented and mighty batting lineup, with four players averaging around 50 or better. And yet for many many years, they still could not win away from home, with or without Tendulkar. The truth is, everyone feels the pressure, Dravid, Laxman, Sehwag, Ganguly, Gambhir etc. And they all react well to it at different moments. So this argument cannot be used to describe Tendulkar as great. The argument I often use to describe his greatness is the longevity aspect (21 years and still going strong). But then again, so was Bradman's.

  • Billy on July 26, 2010, 2:59 GMT

    Once again, whenever the question of Tendulkar vs Ponting comes up, a lot of fans dismiss that argument and instead try to prove that Tendulkar was better than Bradman. I'm sorry but people like SangakaraFan, Faircricket7 and Tarun Joshi need to research the facts more before they make ridiculous comments about Bradman being overhyped or that Bradman belongs to a museum. There is no doubt that Tendulkar is a great batsman and belongs to a category where he is a contender for the greatest of all time. But there are other contenders that these so called fans don't mention. Viv Richards, Gary Sobers, Sunil Gavaskar, Jack Hobbs, Brian Lara are just a few names. So could those Tendulkar fans please first argue why Tendulkar is miles and miles better than all those names above? And then they can start to argue about the strongest contender of them all for the greatest batsman ever, Bradman.

  • sridhar on July 24, 2010, 14:18 GMT

    ponting has been consistenly falliable to certain he is a great batsmen with his great strenths but he is not a complete batsmen. he plays to his strengths. there was a purple patch in the early part of the decade where he scored relentless centuries. after that it has been a on/off greatness in batting. and one peculiar thing is that(since i have closely watched most cricket matches) there has been quite a lot of dropped catches in many of his centuries. tendulkar also has his shares of lbws and number of dropped chances but with ponting i do notice a lot of them in his centuries. to me he is a great cricketer and an above average captain but definitely less than lara and's easy to chalk out runs when completely supported by best bowlers and fine batsmen and that purple patch of centuries isn't there right now due to lack of support.

  • Rumesh on July 23, 2010, 18:09 GMT

    IT'S A NO-BRAINER..Tendulkar is obvioulsy & easily the best player in the world.I aslo believe that Lara and Tendulkar are in the same class, whereas Ponting has a looooong way to go as he he still cannot play fast bowling and can only score runs on flat pitches of Australia and England.80% of ponting runs have come after 2004 when the best of the fast bowlers had retired. Ponting struggled against the likes of Roach & Amer in this series.Ponting & Bradman are over-hyped by Aussie media.

  • A on July 23, 2010, 17:49 GMT

    Only player who comes close to comparing to Tendulkar is Lara...Ponting has no class of these 2 players.Steve waugh comes close third. If you look at Ponting's record, he scored most of his runs after 2003 when the best of fast bowlers had retired.Donald,Ambrose,Akram,waqur,Walsh,Pollock had retired or were below peak.Ponting never faced Warne,McGrath or Lee. Tendulkar & Lara faced all these bowlers during early 90's & late 90's and were sucessful.Ponting couldn't face Flintoff in ashes '05 and we all know how Ishant Sharma,Roach & Amer have troubled him.Ponting can't play raw pace.

  • Gayathri on July 23, 2010, 16:46 GMT

    Tendulkar is the better gentleman though!

  • Kakashi on July 23, 2010, 15:34 GMT

    i am Pakistani but i have to say tendulkar is better than ponting, but not by alot. as for murli and warne, i havent watched them for long enough to have an opinion.

  • ayesha on July 23, 2010, 11:59 GMT

    pointing is not having good techniques as sachin sachin is odi best batsman and brian lara is test best batsman.on other side players with no brain in pak are both umar. umar amin & umar akmal.

  • Nick on July 23, 2010, 11:46 GMT

    I have a question to every cricket lovers.I know there is a debate going on around Tendulkar/Ponting but they both are great cricketers.

    But I suspect Bradman's performance as a great since he has played mostly with England.He has never faced Sri Lanka.Very little with India,West Indies etc. How can be compared his aggregate with Tendulkar/Ponting ??? Give me valid logical points please.As Maradona said about Pele, I think Bradman's is a very good cricketer in the past history who deserves in the museum.Those days cricket played with less competition as of now. No commerciality as well. Now is the hardest period to play good cricket and hold a record.

    So great tribute to Tendulkar/Ponting and Warne/Murali but not Bradman.Period.

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