Australia in South Africa 2011-12 November 22, 2011

Ponting, Haddin buy themselves time

For now, Ricky Ponting and Brad Haddin have earned themselves a reprieve. But their margins remain slim and they cannot afford to slip back into their slumps
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Three Australians entered the Johannesburg Test with their credits running out. Over 16 years in the side, Ricky Ponting had built up a significant portfolio of blue-chip innings. His value was high but for nearly two years, his yields had plummeted. Brad Haddin's stocks had also taken a dive. After their match-winning half-centuries in Johannesburg, both men flew back to Australia having at least bought themselves time.

Ponting and Haddin are now both expected for the first Test of the home summer, against New Zealand at the Gabba starting on December 1. The situation is not so clear for Mitchell Johnson, who also played a key role with the bat in Australia's chase of 310, the highest fourth-innings total to win a Wanderers Test, but whose primary worth in Australia's team should be with the ball.

Australia's new selection panel - John Inverarity, Rod Marsh, Andy Bichel, the coach Mickey Arthur and the captain Michael Clarke - will meet in Brisbane during this week's Australia A game for their first meeting as a group. Their initial task will be to choose a squad for the New Zealand series, and matters are clouded by injuries to three key players: Shane Watson, Shaun Marsh and Ryan Harris.

Ponting scored 62 and Haddin made 55 in the win at the Wanderers. Their contributions were critical. But the Man of the Match was the 18-year-old debutant Pat Cummins, who stunned viewers all around the world with his seven wickets and by scoring the match-winning runs. His maturity was incredible.

Combined with Marsh's hundred on debut in Sri Lanka, it has highlighted that some of the untried talent that is out there in Australian cricket could be the spark the team needs. Cummins certainly was in Johannesburg. Ben Cutting, James Pattinson, Matthew Wade, David Warner - there are other untested young players around the country just waiting for that same opportunity.

But after the win, Clarke was effusive about the performance of the under-pressure players, especially Ponting. While the runs were not coming for Ponting earlier in the series - his 62 was his first Test half-century since the opening match of the Ashes last year - he had been working hard in the nets to help other players, giving throwdowns to the young batsmen and offering words of advice, and Clarke said that influence was vital.

"I hope they proved themselves once again to you guys and to the people that do doubt them, they don't need to prove anything to anybody in that change-room and they certainly don't need to prove anything to me," Clarke said. "Ricky, 39 Test hundreds and the best batting statistics apart from Bradman as an Australian player, if that doesn't prove something, I don't know what does.

"[He has a good] work ethic, what he gives to the team off the field. I've made it clear that Ricky Ponting has been a large part of the last bit of success we've had in Sri Lanka and here and I'd love to see that continue. I'd love to see him making runs no doubt, like all of us [would], but he's been a great contributor to the team on and off the field."

Haddin was under severe pressure as well, particularly after his two poor shots to get out during the debacle in Cape Town. His glovework was also slammed by Ian Healy last week and, significantly, the Victoria wicketkeeper Matthew Wade - who at 23 is 11 years Haddin's junior - has been piling up runs in the domestic competitions this summer as well as last.

The scrutiny on Haddin won't disappear completely, particularly if Wade continues to score heavily and if Tim Paine makes a strong return from injury. But his 55 at the Wanderers, which featured some wonderful drives down the ground and through the off side, was exactly what Australia needed in a tricky situation.

"Brad Haddin has been under pressure no doubt," Clarke said. "I think he's been a bit disappointed himself with his batting results but he feels like he's keeping okay. Again today [day five at the Wanderers, he showed] true character, a lot of courage to be able to play his way. He could have gone into his shell and batted for his career, but he backed himself and played his way. Not too many guys can do that, the one guy who can is Adam Gilchrist and he's the greatest keeper I've played with, Hadds isn't far behind."

Johnson also backed himself with the bat, but series figures of 3 for 255 were not good enough. He changed his run-up halfway through the Johannesburg Test, a sign that he was not happy with the way he was bowling, and although he did improve against the South African tailenders, he was completely overshadowed by Cummins.

The Australians are also waiting on Johnson's fitness after he injured his foot during his innings of 40 not out; he hobbled through for his runs after hurting himself taking off for a single. Whether fit or not, Johnson is now the member of the side in the most danger of being dropped for the Gabba, after taking 35 wickets at 45.71 in the past 18 months.

"He's one of the hardest tryers you'll ever see," Clarke said of Johnson. "Yes, he needs wickets, no doubt, and he's not hiding behind that fact, but if he continues to bowl like he bowled in this Test match and he continues to keep the same attitude in regards to trying to get better, he'll keep having success. Everybody goes through it, I'd like to make 100 every time I bat but it's just not the game."

Johnson might have the backing of his captain, but it remains to be seen what value the rest of the selectors place on him. For now, Ponting and Haddin have bought themselves a reprieve. But it was only one innings. Their margins remain slim, and the selectors would be wise to keep their options open.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY subbass on | November 24, 2011, 6:16 GMT

    Please keep Ponting for the next ashes.

    signed pom.

  • POSTED BY stormy16 on | November 24, 2011, 5:32 GMT

    Of the three Ponting showed enough to let this summer decide his fate. Sure Haddin made 55 in JHB but that was after yonks. He got out playing yet another irresponsible shot exposing the bowlers at a critical time. Aus cannot afford to carry him for this summer where the 're-building' must be reinforced and ready for the Ashes. All the new talent given the opportunity from the SL tour have shown they are capable and I think its time to try a new guy in the vital WK slot. Johnsons 40 at JHB is a glimpse of the reason why its so hard to drop him - yes I know he doesnt get wickets - but he can add so much balance to the team that I think he needs this summer to work things out. If he can find something he will be deadly and needs to be given another chance.

  • POSTED BY redneck on | November 24, 2011, 1:01 GMT

    poor reading skill or not i still stand by my comment. dont know about you but ive read pretty much every article on this site for the last 5 years, think i can pick up on a thing or 2 in the comments with my "poor reading skills" for instance aussinator im faily sure is indian, 5wombats and landl47 are poms. you only need to go to the 07/08 series between india and australia to find out what most indians think of punter.

  • POSTED BY coolxi on | November 23, 2011, 15:48 GMT

    It was an emiently enjoyable series. considering that certain players are under the hammer, my first choice xi for the test against new zealand is openers: david warner & hughes middle order: ricky ponting, michael clarke, michael hussey, usman khwaja / shaun marsh wicketkeeper: haddin / wade fast bowlers: pat cummins, ben hilfenhaus, james pattinson spiiner: nathan lyons btw where are players like tim paine, callum fergusson, dougie bollinger, clint mckay... they were regulars in the team just a year back...

  • POSTED BY SirRickyPunting on | November 23, 2011, 12:04 GMT

    Ponting is the best player in the team. People need to come up with some kind of angle if they really hope that anyone will be interested in the rubbish they want to write.

  • POSTED BY TheLoneStranger on | November 23, 2011, 9:55 GMT

    Clarke should not be a selector in this team. He is so far removed from reality when it comes to Ponting that his judgment is off with the fairies. Ponting MUST go. His form has been diabolical and whilst his 62 runs was vital to Australia's wonderful win in the last test, so too were the contributions of almost all the other players, not least Johnson's un-beaten contributions in BOTH innings! There's no substitute for talent. Surely Cummins' effort should underline that fact! If there are four unfit players (Watson, Johnson, Marsh, Harris) for Brisbane, the team should be as follows: Warner, Klinger, Khawaja, Hughes (only because Watson and Marsh are unfit), Clarke, Hussey, Haddin, Cutting, Cummins, Copeland, Siddle/Lyon (depending on the pitch). If Watson and Marsh are fit (and I mean 101%, NOT 95%!), Watson would replace Klinger and Marsh would replace Hughes. Ponting should not even get a look-in. The selectors should say, "Punter, retire or be dropped".

  • POSTED BY nobbin on | November 23, 2011, 9:42 GMT

    the series wins in srilanka and SA shows tha tstill now aussie better than india and england.......but they hav to work hard to mantain the consistancy and mental strngt

  • POSTED BY on | November 23, 2011, 9:21 GMT

    Those good old days Cricketers retired early but now a days they wait until they are pushed out. Captains and play mates support them as they too may have to face the same plight. The reason is they are paid too much and never want to retire. Give the young ones a chance. Gilchrist was good but Healy although he was not fit tried to cling on. The same with Gilchrist before Hadidn took over. It is time for Haddin to go.Ponting and Johnson too have to give way to promising youngsters

  • POSTED BY RandyOZ on | November 23, 2011, 8:30 GMT

    England and India are clearly jealous that they can't produce anyone near the quality of Punter. After flogging each other at home, they just prove that they are no good.

  • POSTED BY on | November 23, 2011, 7:27 GMT

    @redneck Your reading skills are really poor. It is the other way around. Indians are actually supporting Ponting.Aussies want him out. Read comments on other articles related to Ponting.

  • POSTED BY subbass on | November 24, 2011, 6:16 GMT

    Please keep Ponting for the next ashes.

    signed pom.

  • POSTED BY stormy16 on | November 24, 2011, 5:32 GMT

    Of the three Ponting showed enough to let this summer decide his fate. Sure Haddin made 55 in JHB but that was after yonks. He got out playing yet another irresponsible shot exposing the bowlers at a critical time. Aus cannot afford to carry him for this summer where the 're-building' must be reinforced and ready for the Ashes. All the new talent given the opportunity from the SL tour have shown they are capable and I think its time to try a new guy in the vital WK slot. Johnsons 40 at JHB is a glimpse of the reason why its so hard to drop him - yes I know he doesnt get wickets - but he can add so much balance to the team that I think he needs this summer to work things out. If he can find something he will be deadly and needs to be given another chance.

  • POSTED BY redneck on | November 24, 2011, 1:01 GMT

    poor reading skill or not i still stand by my comment. dont know about you but ive read pretty much every article on this site for the last 5 years, think i can pick up on a thing or 2 in the comments with my "poor reading skills" for instance aussinator im faily sure is indian, 5wombats and landl47 are poms. you only need to go to the 07/08 series between india and australia to find out what most indians think of punter.

  • POSTED BY coolxi on | November 23, 2011, 15:48 GMT

    It was an emiently enjoyable series. considering that certain players are under the hammer, my first choice xi for the test against new zealand is openers: david warner & hughes middle order: ricky ponting, michael clarke, michael hussey, usman khwaja / shaun marsh wicketkeeper: haddin / wade fast bowlers: pat cummins, ben hilfenhaus, james pattinson spiiner: nathan lyons btw where are players like tim paine, callum fergusson, dougie bollinger, clint mckay... they were regulars in the team just a year back...

  • POSTED BY SirRickyPunting on | November 23, 2011, 12:04 GMT

    Ponting is the best player in the team. People need to come up with some kind of angle if they really hope that anyone will be interested in the rubbish they want to write.

  • POSTED BY TheLoneStranger on | November 23, 2011, 9:55 GMT

    Clarke should not be a selector in this team. He is so far removed from reality when it comes to Ponting that his judgment is off with the fairies. Ponting MUST go. His form has been diabolical and whilst his 62 runs was vital to Australia's wonderful win in the last test, so too were the contributions of almost all the other players, not least Johnson's un-beaten contributions in BOTH innings! There's no substitute for talent. Surely Cummins' effort should underline that fact! If there are four unfit players (Watson, Johnson, Marsh, Harris) for Brisbane, the team should be as follows: Warner, Klinger, Khawaja, Hughes (only because Watson and Marsh are unfit), Clarke, Hussey, Haddin, Cutting, Cummins, Copeland, Siddle/Lyon (depending on the pitch). If Watson and Marsh are fit (and I mean 101%, NOT 95%!), Watson would replace Klinger and Marsh would replace Hughes. Ponting should not even get a look-in. The selectors should say, "Punter, retire or be dropped".

  • POSTED BY nobbin on | November 23, 2011, 9:42 GMT

    the series wins in srilanka and SA shows tha tstill now aussie better than india and england.......but they hav to work hard to mantain the consistancy and mental strngt

  • POSTED BY on | November 23, 2011, 9:21 GMT

    Those good old days Cricketers retired early but now a days they wait until they are pushed out. Captains and play mates support them as they too may have to face the same plight. The reason is they are paid too much and never want to retire. Give the young ones a chance. Gilchrist was good but Healy although he was not fit tried to cling on. The same with Gilchrist before Hadidn took over. It is time for Haddin to go.Ponting and Johnson too have to give way to promising youngsters

  • POSTED BY RandyOZ on | November 23, 2011, 8:30 GMT

    England and India are clearly jealous that they can't produce anyone near the quality of Punter. After flogging each other at home, they just prove that they are no good.

  • POSTED BY on | November 23, 2011, 7:27 GMT

    @redneck Your reading skills are really poor. It is the other way around. Indians are actually supporting Ponting.Aussies want him out. Read comments on other articles related to Ponting.

  • POSTED BY on | November 23, 2011, 6:04 GMT

    @Mark Simpson i could not agree more with your statements Ponting,Haddin an Johnson need to do more ON the field than off.

  • POSTED BY Rahul_78 on | November 23, 2011, 5:59 GMT

    Young Pat cummins and Usman khawaja made telling contribution to win the match at critical moment. That gives a clear signal to the selectors. It would be a tragedy if Mitch Johson is blocking the path of another Cummins waiting in the wings. Mitch already has had ample chances.

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | November 23, 2011, 4:28 GMT

    Surely even Clarke doesn't believe that Haddin is not far behind Gilchrist? Next he'll be telling us that Lyon is not far behind Warne. I know a skipper needs to support his side, but when he starts making ridiculous statements, Clarke calls his own credibility into question. As for Ponting, yes, he finally made a test 50 after 13 unsuccessful attempts, but on day 5, when Aus needed to him dig in and build a firm base for the innings, he got out chasing a wide one after adding only 8 to his overnight score. That buys him time for what? To get younger? @ redneck: yes, it is strange that England and India fans should be thinking more clearly than Aus fans. But then, maybe that's why England and India are beating Aus at the moment.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | November 23, 2011, 2:13 GMT

    @Steve Andrews - Starc is a talent, but IMO, he is way down the list of the next in lines. I'm not keen on manufacturing Khawaja into an opener, but I think it may be the only way to keep him in the side whilst Punter is there. Watto does have to drop down the order, somewhere from 4 to 6 would be my preference. Boyce is rising rapidly (I think well captained by Hopes or Lehman from the stands), but it would be too early for him to get a go ahead of Lyon, (when is Hauritz fit????). == == == My preferred Test team v NZ, (assuming Watson & Marsh unfit) 1. Warner, 2. Hughes, 3. Khawaja, 4. Hussey, 5. Pup, 6. Wade, 7. O'Keefe, 8. Butterworth, 9. Cutting, 10. Harris, 11. Cummins 12th: Copeland - prefer he played Shield though! I included O'Keefe ahead of Lyon purely on batting & the need to (in probably very hot conditions) have 5 bowlers. With no Watto, the workload for the bowlers MAY be too high. As neither Wade or O'Keefe are specialist batsmen Id have Butterworth to add to batting!

  • POSTED BY redneck on | November 23, 2011, 1:57 GMT

    find it funny its always the indian and english posters calling for pontings head. us aussies still want him in the team and who cares what the opposition think!!!

  • POSTED BY CricLook on | November 23, 2011, 1:54 GMT

    Ponting is the best batsman available in Australian lineup. Its true that he is not making runs as much as expected still he scored when matters most. Presently australia dont have perfect replacement for him and there are tough series ahead NZ and IND. So he must be there . Both Marsh and Khwaza are new and untested. They need sometime to settle. Haddin & Johnson, have to perform and they are replacable with lot of options. I expect Ponting two carry on couple of years.

  • POSTED BY Humdingers on | November 22, 2011, 23:48 GMT

    @5wombats - good call mate. Despite the shortcomings of recent times, he still is one of the greats of the game (however debatable) - runs scored, centuries scored, games won, world cups won - he has earnt at least a decent farewell. I get the feeling that is the plan. A farewell for Ponting at the final home test of the Aus summer.

  • POSTED BY on | November 22, 2011, 22:41 GMT

    According to Clark's comments, it seems that Ponting's true value to the team is currently as a coach/mentor. So fine, give him that role and get someone who can make runs in to bat. Ponting's record does not give him the never ending right to be in the team, only on field performance can do that. Otherwise A.B. and Steve Waugh would still be playing. As for Mitch, as Gillespie whether making runs can keep you in the team as a bowler. And now is the perfect time to bring in Wade for Haddin if we're truly building a team for the future.

  • POSTED BY 5wombats on | November 22, 2011, 22:39 GMT

    I've poured harsh words all over Ponting as long I've been on cricinfo (almost 2 weeks now...). He really hasn't been as good for Aus as Aussies think, especially since 2005 - in fact, in quiet moments a lot of Aussies realise that Ponting has actually been great for England. The stubborness, grit, etc that are supposed to be his strengths - are now, very clearly his weaknesses. No-one can question his abilities with the willow up until about 2009. Weaknesses as a captain were exposed once he was called upon to guide & shape a new set of players. The worst part is his SHOCKING antics on the field when things don't go his way. Unforgivable - and sadly this spoiled brat attitude will be the aspect we remember when he comes on to do TV commentaries in future. Meanwhile - for all his faults - Ponting has been a great batsman for Australia. He has earned the right to go at a time of his choosing.

  • POSTED BY on | November 22, 2011, 20:48 GMT

    Dear Mitch, get some advice from Wasim Akram and DeVilliers or some of the great fast bowlers of yester year. They have offered you assistance and you should call them. It can only help not hinder especially if you are changing your run up mid test. Surely if you cared so much about your game, you would take any piece of advice and help you can get. Take some time off and work on your game mentally and technically. Again you have talent, no doubt but you lack the smarts in applying anything to help your game. I hope the selectors drop you for this summer so you can seek council on your bowling as I believe you could be the better for it in the coming years, instead of continually rolling your arm over thinking the outcome will be different. It's insanity to think so.

  • POSTED BY on | November 22, 2011, 20:37 GMT

    Cummins and Pattinson -- Lillee & Thompson of the next decade?

  • POSTED BY KarachiKid on | November 22, 2011, 18:33 GMT

    I love Mitchel Johnson the all rounder. I dont know why he is not in the wickets, and where he seam and swing has gone.

  • POSTED BY RAshutoshT on | November 22, 2011, 17:33 GMT

    i don't think that selectors will drop ponting soon... injecting young blood is 1 thing but if u playing marsh/khwaja, cummins, lyon, Wade (pls drop haddin) then there are already 4 guys with almost nil experience... i don't think selectors will load the side with ypungsters completely... so ponting has some time not bcoz of his performnance but bcoz of the too much youth factor...

  • POSTED BY Aussasinator on | November 22, 2011, 17:07 GMT

    Wonder how people still see any utility for Ponting in the team. Isnt it obvious that whoever stepped in at No. 3 is doing a far better job than he has in the last 3 years! Warner could be explosive at No. 4 in Ponting's place. Australia have been missing their big scores all along due to Ponting's recurring failures. But my heart gladdens every time he miscues, misses pull shots, drives in the air, curses others ( when he's cursing himself actually), frowns as if a choco bar has been snatched away from him and generally makes a fool of himself through his selfishness on display.

  • POSTED BY Dave88 on | November 22, 2011, 15:23 GMT

    Ricky Ponting has been a massive asset to this Australian team for a long time now, but in saying that his importance in the team has faded dramatically since giving up the captaincy and being out of form, All cricket lovers would like to see him go out how he wishes to, in saying that Aussies want what is best for the Aus team which im not sure he is. As for Haddin he needs to be replaced immediatly. Paine when fit will slot nicely into there. Hughes to be replaced by Warner is also inevitable. When it comes to Aus bowling attack and where Watson best fits into team these are also vital issues, with the only thing clear is that Harris is by far our best bowler and Nathan Lyon looks like hes more then a bandaid, which is a massive improvement on some of the previous options selected ro bowl spin for Aus. As for Siddle he should be the first man left out, Ben Hilfenhaus wouldnt be a bad choice to open the bowling with Harris. As for Johnson this will be his last chance to impress.

  • POSTED BY allrounder51 on | November 22, 2011, 15:07 GMT

    I agree with Steve Andrews - bring in Wade & Cutting - cutting appears to be able to bat as well. Get rid of Siddle & keep Johnson & Ponting at least for nz. Ponting has earnt a few more chances. Marsh & Harris need to improve their fitness or be left on sidelines.I am from NSW but cant support keeping Haddin in the team.te was very very lucky in the 2ND innings. He cant be kept in the side when weave a future great player in Wade on the side lines

  • POSTED BY on | November 22, 2011, 15:07 GMT

    Sorry. A comment regarding the India - WI match was posted here. It was my mistake. Apologies to Bryden Coverdale. The reporter was Sid Ravindran.

  • POSTED BY Green_and_Gold on | November 22, 2011, 15:01 GMT

    You have khawaja, Marsh and Hughes in the side who are all jr players. Just being around ponting will help them adjust to the international stage - his input would be priceless. We dont see that as supporters of cricket. Look at Cummins - even he said that he was looking to johnson and siddle to help him out. Ponting willl be gone soon enough but for now he still does have a lot to offer the team.

  • POSTED BY Matt. on | November 22, 2011, 14:39 GMT

    @v_singh, Warner isn't a potential test candidate for his hard hitting. he's a test candidate because he has a good technique and changes his game depending on the format. Phil Hughes on the other just swings at anything...he should be in our T20 side

  • POSTED BY bobagorof on | November 22, 2011, 13:55 GMT

    Apparently Clarke has forgotten about Greg Chappell, who now has a better record than Ponting since his slump. Maybe his half-century is enough to give Ponting another match or two, but I still believe he should be playing for his career. Haddin, despite his half century in the last innings, should be dropped - his attitude in the first match was unforgivable. There are ready replacements waiting in the wings for his spot. Johnson performed well with the bat, but unless hes going to bat in the top 6 then this shouldn't keep him in the side. Australia will need an experienced bowler to lead the attack during the summer, but Johnson is a liability. Hopefully either Harris or Bollinger will be fit, or (dare I say it) Hilfenhaus regains some form.

  • POSTED BY on | November 22, 2011, 13:42 GMT

    How many chances and half chances were put down by the Indian fielders. Brydon Cocerdale seem to be underplaying it. Is he also getting overawed by the stars -- for a journo, there is no need!

  • POSTED BY on | November 22, 2011, 13:38 GMT

    Mitch pitched in on the J'berg pitch with the bat. Didn't have a ball with the ball. Indian fans know too well, what happens when one of the leading bowlers forgets his primary role. Cummins said that the goings on at the other end helped him to play his natural game -- can't be the bowling at the other end. Must be the batting. This dude's performance seems to go up and down with his moods. Doesn't the Aussie support staff with its large contingent have a mental conditioning guy/gal to help Mitch pitch in with the ball on any pitch? Wickets are the only tickets for for a guy to be in a team to be a leader or even mentor for the young bowlers; not batting exploits!

  • POSTED BY on | November 22, 2011, 13:23 GMT

    Maybe Ponting could keep wicket, then we'd only have one passenger (apart from Mitch)

  • POSTED BY Winsome on | November 22, 2011, 12:49 GMT

    The reporters are guessing like the rest of us. If Punter was going to go before this last innings, one 50 wouldn't save him. No-one knows apart from the selectors.

  • POSTED BY aussieaussie84 on | November 22, 2011, 12:40 GMT

    Hopefully Australian selectors will use sum common sense when picking the team for nz tests.. If everyone is fit to play aussie team should be 1. Watson 2. Ponting 3. Marsh 4. Clarke 5. Hussey 6. Haddin 7. Johnson 8. M. Marsh 9. Harris 10. Cutting 11 Cummins Ricky could play on a couple more years opening n doing a great job. Haddin I agree is on last legs. Johnson should move up the batting order n play as an all rounder. Will take pressure off his bowling as the spearhead tag which he clearly isn't. Might help his bowling and Aussies get best out of him. His batting is clearly good enough as his technically correct batsmen. No need for a spinner which Clarke can bowl some. And mitch marsh should b in the test team. His been great for WA with the ball and bat. Now that is a well balanced side.

  • POSTED BY on | November 22, 2011, 11:55 GMT

    ricky should be in the team for another 2 years

  • POSTED BY Beertjie on | November 22, 2011, 11:53 GMT

    What bothers me most is Clarke's sang-froid reflected in remarks like "Adam Gilchrist and he's the greatest keeper I've played with, Hadds isn't far behind." How can anyone compare these two? Well if you're Pup and think of yourself in the same category as the legends, then you're likely to boost/over- estimate your team-mates. That'll have to be checked by his fellow selectors, especially Invers. No one plays on as of right or to impart knowledge - lack of performance = being dropped.That's the old Aussie way and I for one hope it stays like that. Cutting (if he performs in the coming match v the Kiwis) should be picked on merit to replace Johnson, unless the latter starts picking up wickets at the Gabba. It's the protected species mind-set that's got to go.

  • POSTED BY on | November 22, 2011, 11:50 GMT

    Mitchell Johnson needs to be backed against NZ but he must remember if he does not improve then he should get excluded from the test team against India. He is still a vital member of the ODI team. I think Ponting offers more to the team than runs, Im sure he will score runs over the next couple of years. How Ponting performs in the next 2 series will be crucial to the performance of Australia. Shaun Marsh must improve his fitness, his injury record is poor for the number of matches played.

  • POSTED BY tfjones1978 on | November 22, 2011, 11:48 GMT

    "For now, Ricky Ponting and Brad Haddin have earned themselves a reprieve" Their combined total for the match was 133 runs from 4 innings (62 Ponting 71 Haddin). To imply that an average of 31 & 35 from one test match after a year of getting nothing in tests and nearly nothing (Ponting 1 or 2 ODI hundreds over 6 months ago) in other forms is reducilous considering what others are getting in other forms of the game. Are we going to have more Stuart Laws' in Australia? During the 90's several times other players were carried for a couple of seasons (eg: Mark Taylor in late 90s) whilst other great players sat on the side lines doing nothing. During the 2000's this was understandable ... the competition was once so great that an aussie in the early 2000's came in for an injured Aussie & scored a 100, was immediately dropped for the returnee whom in turn scored a 100. But this isnt the great side of early & mid 2000's, this is a limping Aussie team that has dead weight, cut them loose CA!

  • POSTED BY Okakaboka on | November 22, 2011, 11:48 GMT

    Oh come on...... How can Haddin earn a reprieve on the basis of one very streaky innings. He should have been out numerous times with irresponsible waves at wide deliveries. A bit of tin...and ....what?? We put up with his INFERIOR wicket keeping (and Batting) for another summer???? NOT FAIR!!!!! Has Johnston saved his own skin with his innings? Give us a break.....He is bowler.....um...used to be a bowler. Time for Pattinson to join Cummings and become a potent duo in international cricket.

  • POSTED BY Matt. on | November 22, 2011, 11:43 GMT

    Mr Coverdale...I so hope you're wrong about Haddin. How can one score reprieve so many failures!

  • POSTED BY on | November 22, 2011, 11:42 GMT

    I prefer Cutting over starc. starc is a good one day bowler buts that it. yes he got 5 wickets against QLD. 3 were tail enders trying to slog him out the park. Wow! Cutting had been dismissing the best batsman in the country all year and dont forget he was brilliant 2 years ago before his injuries. This is where im going with my team for the first test against NZ. Khawaja, Hughes, clarke, ponting, hussey, Watson (if injured Mitchell Marsh or luke butterworth) Wade, O'keefe( if injured Cam Boyce), Cutting, Harris (if injured Copeland), Cummins. Yep thats right O'keefe my no. 1 spinner with cam boyce 2nd. If you have followed cam he has improved so much and is now bowling wonderful, he can turn the ball alot and has some good variety and good control for a leg spinner. This is an opportunity to move watson to 6, if injured though i want an allrounder to help balance the attack, im going with 2 bowling allrounders. happy with my quicks Cutting, Harris, Copeland and Cummins. Wade 4 Haddin

  • POSTED BY RandyOZ on | November 22, 2011, 11:35 GMT

    I'd probably give Punter the NZ series to retire in Hobart, he does deserve it. He's the 2nd greatest batsman of all time. As for Jono and Siddle, see you later!

  • POSTED BY AdoSR on | November 22, 2011, 11:24 GMT

    I think Mitch is safe for now. I'm sorry to say that Siddle may have played his last test. They won't go into a test match with 3 new quicks. Mitch will need to be there, my guess with Cummins and Cutting. If Wade gets another 100 for Oz 'A' then he will be irresistable. Ponting is safe, and so it should be.

  • POSTED BY Saeed.Lodhi on | November 22, 2011, 11:23 GMT

    Oh plz dont disgrace Punter .... he is best in business, let the great man pick his own time to walk .... I personal believe that punter still has couple of years of competitive cricket left in him .... show some support, you cant keep players like punter down for long .... mark my words, he gonna bounce back pronto ....

    Unfortunately, cant say the same for Hado's .... dude walk away !

  • POSTED BY on | November 22, 2011, 11:20 GMT

    I hope the selectors do make a few changes. i hope they have the courage to this. I dont want to see ponting go just yet. what a champion. in saying that his time is running out. if he stays this series and India either him or hussey has to go but not both at the same time. I think Wade deserves his chance at keeper. he is a dynamic player and averages 40 in first class and about 43 in one day domestic with a great strike rate. his keeping is outstanding too. All the talk about johnson, frankly i have to say i would rather johnson in my side then siddle. siddle leaks runs as bad as johnson, he goes wicketless alot too and he isnt as good in the field or with the bat then johnson. in saying that i think its time johnson is dropped for an extended period and make him force his way back in. i love Ben Cutting. can bowl mid 140's often around the 140 mark with steep uncomfortable bounce.

  • POSTED BY joisbalu on | November 22, 2011, 11:14 GMT

    Please ask ponting to retire after NZ series and bring in warner,wade and any young bowler.. If you cant bring in young guys against NZ then u cant against any one else... My team for NZ series with watto out with injury will be 1)Marsh,2)warner,3) usman,4)clarke,5)hussey,6)wade,7)cummins,8)harris/copeland/cutting,9)pattison,10)Lyon, 11)maxwell

  • POSTED BY v_singh on | November 22, 2011, 11:08 GMT

    it was a wonderful match - was following it on cricinfo (no TEN sports subscription for me - missed the real action !!) I am not sure why so many people talk about David Warner as potential candidate for Australian test team.. Are there no better folks around in domestic circuit ? He may hit the ball hard but is he really worth it.. he has'nt made good contribution(s) in the limited ODIs he has played..

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  • POSTED BY v_singh on | November 22, 2011, 11:08 GMT

    it was a wonderful match - was following it on cricinfo (no TEN sports subscription for me - missed the real action !!) I am not sure why so many people talk about David Warner as potential candidate for Australian test team.. Are there no better folks around in domestic circuit ? He may hit the ball hard but is he really worth it.. he has'nt made good contribution(s) in the limited ODIs he has played..

  • POSTED BY joisbalu on | November 22, 2011, 11:14 GMT

    Please ask ponting to retire after NZ series and bring in warner,wade and any young bowler.. If you cant bring in young guys against NZ then u cant against any one else... My team for NZ series with watto out with injury will be 1)Marsh,2)warner,3) usman,4)clarke,5)hussey,6)wade,7)cummins,8)harris/copeland/cutting,9)pattison,10)Lyon, 11)maxwell

  • POSTED BY on | November 22, 2011, 11:20 GMT

    I hope the selectors do make a few changes. i hope they have the courage to this. I dont want to see ponting go just yet. what a champion. in saying that his time is running out. if he stays this series and India either him or hussey has to go but not both at the same time. I think Wade deserves his chance at keeper. he is a dynamic player and averages 40 in first class and about 43 in one day domestic with a great strike rate. his keeping is outstanding too. All the talk about johnson, frankly i have to say i would rather johnson in my side then siddle. siddle leaks runs as bad as johnson, he goes wicketless alot too and he isnt as good in the field or with the bat then johnson. in saying that i think its time johnson is dropped for an extended period and make him force his way back in. i love Ben Cutting. can bowl mid 140's often around the 140 mark with steep uncomfortable bounce.

  • POSTED BY Saeed.Lodhi on | November 22, 2011, 11:23 GMT

    Oh plz dont disgrace Punter .... he is best in business, let the great man pick his own time to walk .... I personal believe that punter still has couple of years of competitive cricket left in him .... show some support, you cant keep players like punter down for long .... mark my words, he gonna bounce back pronto ....

    Unfortunately, cant say the same for Hado's .... dude walk away !

  • POSTED BY AdoSR on | November 22, 2011, 11:24 GMT

    I think Mitch is safe for now. I'm sorry to say that Siddle may have played his last test. They won't go into a test match with 3 new quicks. Mitch will need to be there, my guess with Cummins and Cutting. If Wade gets another 100 for Oz 'A' then he will be irresistable. Ponting is safe, and so it should be.

  • POSTED BY RandyOZ on | November 22, 2011, 11:35 GMT

    I'd probably give Punter the NZ series to retire in Hobart, he does deserve it. He's the 2nd greatest batsman of all time. As for Jono and Siddle, see you later!

  • POSTED BY on | November 22, 2011, 11:42 GMT

    I prefer Cutting over starc. starc is a good one day bowler buts that it. yes he got 5 wickets against QLD. 3 were tail enders trying to slog him out the park. Wow! Cutting had been dismissing the best batsman in the country all year and dont forget he was brilliant 2 years ago before his injuries. This is where im going with my team for the first test against NZ. Khawaja, Hughes, clarke, ponting, hussey, Watson (if injured Mitchell Marsh or luke butterworth) Wade, O'keefe( if injured Cam Boyce), Cutting, Harris (if injured Copeland), Cummins. Yep thats right O'keefe my no. 1 spinner with cam boyce 2nd. If you have followed cam he has improved so much and is now bowling wonderful, he can turn the ball alot and has some good variety and good control for a leg spinner. This is an opportunity to move watson to 6, if injured though i want an allrounder to help balance the attack, im going with 2 bowling allrounders. happy with my quicks Cutting, Harris, Copeland and Cummins. Wade 4 Haddin

  • POSTED BY Matt. on | November 22, 2011, 11:43 GMT

    Mr Coverdale...I so hope you're wrong about Haddin. How can one score reprieve so many failures!

  • POSTED BY Okakaboka on | November 22, 2011, 11:48 GMT

    Oh come on...... How can Haddin earn a reprieve on the basis of one very streaky innings. He should have been out numerous times with irresponsible waves at wide deliveries. A bit of tin...and ....what?? We put up with his INFERIOR wicket keeping (and Batting) for another summer???? NOT FAIR!!!!! Has Johnston saved his own skin with his innings? Give us a break.....He is bowler.....um...used to be a bowler. Time for Pattinson to join Cummings and become a potent duo in international cricket.

  • POSTED BY tfjones1978 on | November 22, 2011, 11:48 GMT

    "For now, Ricky Ponting and Brad Haddin have earned themselves a reprieve" Their combined total for the match was 133 runs from 4 innings (62 Ponting 71 Haddin). To imply that an average of 31 & 35 from one test match after a year of getting nothing in tests and nearly nothing (Ponting 1 or 2 ODI hundreds over 6 months ago) in other forms is reducilous considering what others are getting in other forms of the game. Are we going to have more Stuart Laws' in Australia? During the 90's several times other players were carried for a couple of seasons (eg: Mark Taylor in late 90s) whilst other great players sat on the side lines doing nothing. During the 2000's this was understandable ... the competition was once so great that an aussie in the early 2000's came in for an injured Aussie & scored a 100, was immediately dropped for the returnee whom in turn scored a 100. But this isnt the great side of early & mid 2000's, this is a limping Aussie team that has dead weight, cut them loose CA!