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

Batting a disappointment for Australia

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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

  • dummy4fb 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.Siftain 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.

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