Pakistan v Australia, 2nd Test, Headingley, 4th day July 24, 2010

Batting a disappointment for Australia

32

Ricky Ponting knows his batsmen let the team down in both innings at Headingley, but he is not yet considering the idea of Steven Smith taking Marcus North's position at No. 6. North was easily the most disappointing of the top six during the series, scoring 36 including two ducks, and only the No. 11 Doug Bollinger had a lower aggregate.

North made a century and a 90 on the tour of New Zealand in March, but since the start of the Australian summer his big scores have become less frequent. Smith, on the other hand, lit up the Headingley stadium with a dazzling 77 on the third afternoon to keep Australia in the match, and in his 15 first-class appearances he has made four centuries.

One of the main selection queries for Australia on their tour of India in October will be whether they can find a way to retain Smith when Nathan Hauritz returns from injury. However, Ponting does not believe Smith is ready to challenge for a more senior batting role and he said the conditions had made it difficult for North and the rest of the batsmen this month.

"I don't think Smith will put pressure on North," Ponting said. "I thought the runs we got out of Smith yesterday were pretty entertaining and very valuable as far as the game is concerned. You can look at all of our batsmen through this tour, we've faced some pretty challenging conditions at different times. Both innings at Lord's the ball went around a fair bit, the first innings here was probably the most challenging conditions that any of us have batted in."

Simon Katich was the only member of the team to average more than 35 during the series, as the Australians failed to find answers to Pakistan's terrific swing bowling. The 349 they compiled with the help of Smith in the second innings in Leeds was their highest innings of the series, but Ponting also felt that in sunny conditions it was the time when they let themselves down.

"I was a little bit disappointed with our batting yesterday," Ponting said. "I thought we probably had the better of the batting conditions yesterday, and we had a chance to get a few more than 349 in the second innings. We let a little bit of an opportunity slip there. But the way we stuck at it late last night and this morning showed some character."

The ball won't swing and seam as much during their two Tests in India, or for the Ashes back home, so the selectors might be hesitant to judge the batsmen on their tricky tour of England. Whatever they decide, Ponting believes the XI chosen for the first Test in India will not necessarily be a pointer to the team for the Gabba Ashes opener.

"What the conditions probably do throw up over there [India] is the likelihood of maybe having to tinker with the setup in your team," Ponting said. "We'll wait and see who we've got that's fit and ready to go for that tour and pick a squad of players we think can win a Test series over there and then worry about the start of the Ashes after that."

Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on July 26, 2010, 14:44 GMT

    aussies batting would have been much better against the bowlers of India, Bangladesh and other sides who are not much renowned for their bowling. but Pakistan were tooo good to bat against !!

  • hasan.cheema on July 26, 2010, 13:10 GMT

    the Era of YK and MY has ended,,, its new age of pakistani cricket...

    Yousaf does not deserve a place in pak team on disciplinary grounds...

    Muhammad Yousaf has retired from International cricket.. jusl like javed miandad

    and Miandad is bigger player than yousaf... so i recommend to bring back retired Miandad instead of Retired Yousaf.

  • MinusZero on July 25, 2010, 23:21 GMT

    In my mind, Watson is still a make shift opener and North should make way for Watson down the order clearing the way for Phillip Hughes to open. Watson has only 1 century in 30 odd innings which for a batsman is not great, but for an opener is clearly not good enough.

  • m.a.khokhar on July 25, 2010, 20:56 GMT

    So well well.. this has been the secret of aussies batting the bright SUN.. they have the help of magic of Allianz with them .. like in Hritik Roshan movie in which they have the help of Jadoo with them to beat the other team when sun was out in a Basket ball match and when sun coverd by clouds the jadoo doesn't work.. now it s might the sun has a magic trick for Australia or may b clouds have magic for Pakistan.. god knows better.. any how rest assured thern is not gonna b much clouds in India ,australia's batting ( a bunch of old peoples) can be click... let's c .. but be aware of Harbhajan on this tour.. he s ready to eat them this time again..

  • Stark62 on July 25, 2010, 15:42 GMT

    Hmm......

    If I were Ponting I would be more worried by the pace attack rather then the batting because the bowling was absolutely shambles with the exception Watto and to a certain degree with Hilfenhaus.

    Bollinger was good at times, Hilfenhaus was excellent in the 1st innings of the 1st match but nothing more then that and of course Mitch was all over the place!!!!

  • green_bomb on July 25, 2010, 9:34 GMT

    Well ,the point is the quality of pace bowling in India would be different just like the conditions.It is very much possible that North scores centuries in India.I dont see aussie selectors changing the team set up just because of a series in England

  • anikbrad on July 25, 2010, 8:12 GMT

    I THING THEY SHOULD EITHER CONVINCE TAIT TO PLAY VS INDIA IN INDIA INSTEAD OF HILFENHAUS, OR PLAY Nathan Hauritz AND SMITH BOTH WITH 3 PACERS OF 140 KM PLUS. BATTING WILL STILL BE THIER WORRY IN SUBCONTNENT.

  • GordonJ on July 25, 2010, 6:59 GMT

    I certainly don't disagree that Australia's batting against Pakistan was generally poor. But to only point the finger at the batting in seam-friendly conditions is to ignore the fact that Australia's 2nd trio of bowlers - Watson, Smith and North - took more wickets than Bollinger, Hilfenhaus and Johnson. 20 to the 2nd trio versus 16 only to the others. And Johnson, supposedly the spearhead of the attack took only 3 of those 16 wickets - North-like with the ball!! One thing is for sure - Australia will need to lift its game against England if it is to reclaim the Ashes!! Finally, perhaps it is time for Ponting to drop down to No.5.

  • MSDonLSD on July 25, 2010, 6:45 GMT

    Ya right Punter! no way are you guys winning a test series in India! If Indian bowlers mess up then you guys might draw the series but a win is highly improbable if you ask me especially if India can't beat the Lankans in their own backyard they'll be pumped up come October. Ashes preparations are not going great guns for sure and oh wouldn't we love to see Australia lose the urn in Australia! Now that would be the ultimate decline in Aussie cricket domination for the last decade. Oh how i can't wait to see more test cricket this year!

  • nicktheump on July 25, 2010, 6:39 GMT

    When will Ponting and Criket Australia get this right? The captain should have NO say in selection of players - its this "mateship" whcih has kept more than a few untouchables in this side for longer than they ought, and is an obvious factor as to why certain other players have been disgarded with little or no opportunity. There is a crying need for a sytemic change of culture within the CA set up in regards to team selection and the captains and coaches influence on it. Start by retiring the current lot and tellling Ponting to just captain what is given to him - surely too this has to lbe his last year? Last chance saloon season Ricky....lets hope.

  • on July 26, 2010, 14:44 GMT

    aussies batting would have been much better against the bowlers of India, Bangladesh and other sides who are not much renowned for their bowling. but Pakistan were tooo good to bat against !!

  • hasan.cheema on July 26, 2010, 13:10 GMT

    the Era of YK and MY has ended,,, its new age of pakistani cricket...

    Yousaf does not deserve a place in pak team on disciplinary grounds...

    Muhammad Yousaf has retired from International cricket.. jusl like javed miandad

    and Miandad is bigger player than yousaf... so i recommend to bring back retired Miandad instead of Retired Yousaf.

  • MinusZero on July 25, 2010, 23:21 GMT

    In my mind, Watson is still a make shift opener and North should make way for Watson down the order clearing the way for Phillip Hughes to open. Watson has only 1 century in 30 odd innings which for a batsman is not great, but for an opener is clearly not good enough.

  • m.a.khokhar on July 25, 2010, 20:56 GMT

    So well well.. this has been the secret of aussies batting the bright SUN.. they have the help of magic of Allianz with them .. like in Hritik Roshan movie in which they have the help of Jadoo with them to beat the other team when sun was out in a Basket ball match and when sun coverd by clouds the jadoo doesn't work.. now it s might the sun has a magic trick for Australia or may b clouds have magic for Pakistan.. god knows better.. any how rest assured thern is not gonna b much clouds in India ,australia's batting ( a bunch of old peoples) can be click... let's c .. but be aware of Harbhajan on this tour.. he s ready to eat them this time again..

  • Stark62 on July 25, 2010, 15:42 GMT

    Hmm......

    If I were Ponting I would be more worried by the pace attack rather then the batting because the bowling was absolutely shambles with the exception Watto and to a certain degree with Hilfenhaus.

    Bollinger was good at times, Hilfenhaus was excellent in the 1st innings of the 1st match but nothing more then that and of course Mitch was all over the place!!!!

  • green_bomb on July 25, 2010, 9:34 GMT

    Well ,the point is the quality of pace bowling in India would be different just like the conditions.It is very much possible that North scores centuries in India.I dont see aussie selectors changing the team set up just because of a series in England

  • anikbrad on July 25, 2010, 8:12 GMT

    I THING THEY SHOULD EITHER CONVINCE TAIT TO PLAY VS INDIA IN INDIA INSTEAD OF HILFENHAUS, OR PLAY Nathan Hauritz AND SMITH BOTH WITH 3 PACERS OF 140 KM PLUS. BATTING WILL STILL BE THIER WORRY IN SUBCONTNENT.

  • GordonJ on July 25, 2010, 6:59 GMT

    I certainly don't disagree that Australia's batting against Pakistan was generally poor. But to only point the finger at the batting in seam-friendly conditions is to ignore the fact that Australia's 2nd trio of bowlers - Watson, Smith and North - took more wickets than Bollinger, Hilfenhaus and Johnson. 20 to the 2nd trio versus 16 only to the others. And Johnson, supposedly the spearhead of the attack took only 3 of those 16 wickets - North-like with the ball!! One thing is for sure - Australia will need to lift its game against England if it is to reclaim the Ashes!! Finally, perhaps it is time for Ponting to drop down to No.5.

  • MSDonLSD on July 25, 2010, 6:45 GMT

    Ya right Punter! no way are you guys winning a test series in India! If Indian bowlers mess up then you guys might draw the series but a win is highly improbable if you ask me especially if India can't beat the Lankans in their own backyard they'll be pumped up come October. Ashes preparations are not going great guns for sure and oh wouldn't we love to see Australia lose the urn in Australia! Now that would be the ultimate decline in Aussie cricket domination for the last decade. Oh how i can't wait to see more test cricket this year!

  • nicktheump on July 25, 2010, 6:39 GMT

    When will Ponting and Criket Australia get this right? The captain should have NO say in selection of players - its this "mateship" whcih has kept more than a few untouchables in this side for longer than they ought, and is an obvious factor as to why certain other players have been disgarded with little or no opportunity. There is a crying need for a sytemic change of culture within the CA set up in regards to team selection and the captains and coaches influence on it. Start by retiring the current lot and tellling Ponting to just captain what is given to him - surely too this has to lbe his last year? Last chance saloon season Ricky....lets hope.

  • morethan20-20 on July 25, 2010, 3:45 GMT

    Why Rick Ponting gets to protect his "mates" from being dropped is almost amusing. North is a liability to the development of a strong middle order. 2 scores against NZ ( who might be the bluntest attack in the world..vettori excluded ) is not enough and denies a future player a chance to learn on the main stage. Simply put, North has to go, smith must stay and if the selectors ( who will put chiropractors out of business due to their lack of spine ) could plan 2-3years ahead... get haddin and hussey out of the test team. And if they insist on persisting with the Johnson roulette, don't rest him!! he is so obviously a player who has the muscle memory of a gold fish!! But watching Rick with his sad face is kind of fun.... Hope the ashes is a close contest..hurry up november!

  • 123234 on July 25, 2010, 3:36 GMT

    i am a pakistani supporter, but Australia don't feel low, you all gave your best and thats what counts plus you can't win them all. ricky ponting your still one of the best captains, no matter what others say. and congrates for your 12000+.

  • ArchieTambo on July 25, 2010, 1:35 GMT

    The change is obvious and not even raised above: stop with this preposterous experiment with Watson as an opener, move "Keith Miller Redux" to six (or better, seven) where he belongs and bring in either Chris Rogers or Phil Jacques to open. They'll succeed and if Watson complains or can't perform, drop him. He's not that good.

  • daandaan on July 25, 2010, 0:18 GMT

    If not North, then who?? Hughes to open, Watson to 3 and Ponting to 6, after the Ashes........ For now, leave it the same and live or die by it, carrying 1 out of form Batsmen is better than Debuting 1 or 2 or 3 or 4 of them. Bowlers are going to win/lose the Ashes for us, thats the scary truth.

  • sneeky55 on July 25, 2010, 0:17 GMT

    i think this should be the squad for India:

    Katich, Hughes, Ponting, Clarke, MEK Hussey, Watson, Haddin, Smith/Hilfenhaus, Johnson, Hauritz, Siddle/Bollinger

    I also don't understand why Aussies persist with MEK Hussey in tests. His stats are not as bad as north's but still if australia have a really inspiring look in domestic they should replace hussey

  • ehsan123 on July 24, 2010, 23:33 GMT

    aussies are in sublime preesure and rickys joke over afridi cost him a dismmisal defeat against inexperienced pak sides

  • TEST_CRICKET_ONLY on July 24, 2010, 23:06 GMT

    "Since the start of the Australian summer" ??? Do you knwo when summer starts in Australia ??

  • Chuckworth on July 24, 2010, 22:23 GMT

    Steve Smith and Watson should be the first players picked for the next couple of series. Then worry about the others. Smith's innings was one of the best examples ever of how to bat with the tail. He managed to smash the bowling and farm the strike at the same time; even a great batsman like Steve Waugh often wouldn't try to do both.

  • rezkp007 on July 24, 2010, 21:30 GMT

    only katich is looking in form and the others are chiping in with little contribution. Watson should bat at 6 Hughs or Marsh should partner Katich. Drop Hussey and North bring White in. Petes siddle should also be in the XI.

  • cricsecular on July 24, 2010, 21:21 GMT

    Read Geff Lawson's interview in PAKPassion, and other comments elsewhere. So started feeling a good future for PAK Cricket. So against England, they need to field Younis, Yousuf with Azhar and Amin. So the 15 members can be on the squad-choose 11 based on the situation, 1. Butt 2. Farhat (you escaped/convined) 3. Younis 4. Azhar 5. Yousuf 6. Umar Akmal 7. Kamran (Brothers can discuss and plan easily than others in they play together) 8. Amin 9. Malik 10. Yasir (these 3 are reserves) 10. Amer 11. Asif 12. Gul 13. Danish 14. Ajmal 15. One Bowling All Rounder (who can fit?)

    Its time for the other teams to face touch PAKISTAN.

  • dr_sachinfan_chennai on July 24, 2010, 20:36 GMT

    Well in India Aussies will be welcomed with roaring batsmen of home team at their own frontier and a spin track. Its gonna be a challenge there when ball zips and turns. One thing is batting of this side is no where near past. I don mean their dream team pre 08 but the same lineup of Punter, Pup and Mr.Cricket are not just as they used to be since Ashes 09. They need to find a way out else there are more than just 2 teams ready to snatch their tags as best side irrespective of rankings.

  • on July 24, 2010, 20:34 GMT

    Quite clearly Ricky doesn't get the fact that Smith is a batting all-rounder. He also doesn't get the fact that North is a poor test batsman and Smith at 6 would give him three quickies, two spinners plus Watson - a great bowling attack for all comditions especially as they are carrying Johnson at the moment.

  • bodge on July 24, 2010, 20:25 GMT

    As a West Australian cricket lover, it pains me to say that Marcus North is not good enough, and Mike Hussey is no longer the player he was. I really wanted North to do well in this series, as I believe he is one of a contingent of Australians that had missed out in the 'invincible' era that has passed. But, sad to say, I think his time should be up after a dismal series. Hussey has been there, done that, but at Test level can't do it any more. That said, I can't see Khawaja being the next in line as Test batsmanĀ“- what about George Bailey, Ed Cowan or a raft of other young up and comers? Or do they need to move to NSW to get a shot at Test Cricket? And I have always been a Ponting supporter, but unfortunately he too seems to be well past his peak. I worry for the Ashes series with this team of underperforming/past peak players, but I can't see much changing in the next 4 months. I think my character allowance may be up...

  • Hyderabad_Heroes on July 24, 2010, 20:16 GMT

    I'm not surprised by ponting's stubborn comments of still persisting with North but arent batsmen supposed to perform in tough conditions ? North may sure pile up runs on flat pitches in India but the point is he doesnt have the proper technique.. I'm sure klinger or khwaja would be way better than him.

    England would love to see north in the squad for the ashes tho.

  • Winsome on July 24, 2010, 18:44 GMT

    Punter really likes Marcus North, they are mates. There is no point in even putting questions to him about North.

    The Aussies appear to want to go into the Ashes with pretty much the same 11 that lost them in England. Maybe without Siddle, but definitely with North.

  • qrk1882 on July 24, 2010, 17:57 GMT

    whatever it is ... u re gonna lose to insia

  • on July 24, 2010, 17:06 GMT

    North, smith, if played will definitely score runs in India. Its probably gonna boil down to which team can hold onto their catches and can bowl the right areas.

  • Graduated_Cheetah on July 24, 2010, 16:47 GMT

    Oh come on the problem does not lie in your batting only ... There is a major problem with your bowling ... How on earth can you continue with Mitchell? He really needs to be replaced by someone who is consistent ... Mitch is a liability to the team ...

  • on July 24, 2010, 16:46 GMT

    the conditions in australia, england, new zealand and south africa are the best for some gud exciting contest between bat and ball and subsequently good test cricket....

  • M_H_K on July 24, 2010, 16:12 GMT

    I don't think that Smith is good enough batsman to take the No 6 position. Well, he might have hit some boundaries with the help of some nervous captaincy from Pakistan Skipper, but I dont think that he is good enough No6 test batsman.

  • sushantsingh on July 24, 2010, 15:38 GMT

    The right team for Test Matches in India should be-- 1.Hughes 2.Watson 3.Ponting 4.Clarke 5.Hussey 6.Katich 7.Haddin 8.Smith 9.Johnson 10.Hauritz 11.Siddle/Harris/Hilfenhaus/Bollinger

    Katich is a better player of spin so he should play in the middle order in India.

  • on July 24, 2010, 15:32 GMT

    look at the batting of ponting in last 1 year... Is he is going to break the record of tendulkar, sachin more consistent than punter..

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  • on July 24, 2010, 15:32 GMT

    look at the batting of ponting in last 1 year... Is he is going to break the record of tendulkar, sachin more consistent than punter..

  • sushantsingh on July 24, 2010, 15:38 GMT

    The right team for Test Matches in India should be-- 1.Hughes 2.Watson 3.Ponting 4.Clarke 5.Hussey 6.Katich 7.Haddin 8.Smith 9.Johnson 10.Hauritz 11.Siddle/Harris/Hilfenhaus/Bollinger

    Katich is a better player of spin so he should play in the middle order in India.

  • M_H_K on July 24, 2010, 16:12 GMT

    I don't think that Smith is good enough batsman to take the No 6 position. Well, he might have hit some boundaries with the help of some nervous captaincy from Pakistan Skipper, but I dont think that he is good enough No6 test batsman.

  • on July 24, 2010, 16:46 GMT

    the conditions in australia, england, new zealand and south africa are the best for some gud exciting contest between bat and ball and subsequently good test cricket....

  • Graduated_Cheetah on July 24, 2010, 16:47 GMT

    Oh come on the problem does not lie in your batting only ... There is a major problem with your bowling ... How on earth can you continue with Mitchell? He really needs to be replaced by someone who is consistent ... Mitch is a liability to the team ...

  • on July 24, 2010, 17:06 GMT

    North, smith, if played will definitely score runs in India. Its probably gonna boil down to which team can hold onto their catches and can bowl the right areas.

  • qrk1882 on July 24, 2010, 17:57 GMT

    whatever it is ... u re gonna lose to insia

  • Winsome on July 24, 2010, 18:44 GMT

    Punter really likes Marcus North, they are mates. There is no point in even putting questions to him about North.

    The Aussies appear to want to go into the Ashes with pretty much the same 11 that lost them in England. Maybe without Siddle, but definitely with North.

  • Hyderabad_Heroes on July 24, 2010, 20:16 GMT

    I'm not surprised by ponting's stubborn comments of still persisting with North but arent batsmen supposed to perform in tough conditions ? North may sure pile up runs on flat pitches in India but the point is he doesnt have the proper technique.. I'm sure klinger or khwaja would be way better than him.

    England would love to see north in the squad for the ashes tho.

  • bodge on July 24, 2010, 20:25 GMT

    As a West Australian cricket lover, it pains me to say that Marcus North is not good enough, and Mike Hussey is no longer the player he was. I really wanted North to do well in this series, as I believe he is one of a contingent of Australians that had missed out in the 'invincible' era that has passed. But, sad to say, I think his time should be up after a dismal series. Hussey has been there, done that, but at Test level can't do it any more. That said, I can't see Khawaja being the next in line as Test batsmanĀ“- what about George Bailey, Ed Cowan or a raft of other young up and comers? Or do they need to move to NSW to get a shot at Test Cricket? And I have always been a Ponting supporter, but unfortunately he too seems to be well past his peak. I worry for the Ashes series with this team of underperforming/past peak players, but I can't see much changing in the next 4 months. I think my character allowance may be up...