‘India fell into the trap…’: Ponting slams Rohit, Dravid for Ashwin-Jadeja call; pulls up Umesh, Shami in WTC final
Ponting had no doubts that Ashwin would have bowled better than Jadeja as the India vs Australia WTC final progressed.
Rohit Sharma and Ricky Ponting have not been on the same page in the lead-up to the World Test Championship final between India and Australia and that did not change one bit when play began on Day 1 at The Oval. A day after Rohit refused to read too much into Ponting's assertion of Australia having a slight edge because of the conditions, his decision to leave out premier spinner Ravichandran Ashwin to play an extra seamer was heavily criticised by the legendary Australia skipper.
After opting to bowl, Rohit said that it was a tough call to leave out Ashwin but they had to do what was “best for the team” looking at the pitch and the overcast conditions. India picked Ravindra Jadeja as the lone spin-bowling all-rounder while Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami, Shardul Thakur and Umesh Yadav were the four quicks.
Ponting said India picked a team only for the first innings. "India have fallen into the trap of picking an attack for the first inning of this Test match only," Ponting said during commentary in the first session.
'Ashwin would've bowled better than Jadeja in 2nd innings': Ponting
The former Australia captain had no doubts that Ashwin would have bowled better than Jadeja as the Test match progressed especially to the four left-handers Australia have in their batting unit.
"The reason why I was surprised that Ashwin was left out is because of the number of left-handers Australia have. There's no doubt in my mind that Ashwin would have bowled a lot better than Jadeja later on in the Test. The big decision that they had to make was between Thakur and Umesh. I was leaning towards Thakur because he would be my workhorse to give a bit of a break to the strike bowlers Shami and Siraj. You can go to Jadeja for a couple of overs just to tie the game down a bit," he added.
India bowled too short with the new ball: Ponting, Karthik
Ponting and Dinesh Karthik were also critical of the lengths the India pacers Shami, Siraj, Shardul and Umesh bowled with the new ball. Siraj was the pick of the bowlers and he also removed Usman Khawaja for a duck but the rest were either too short or wayward.
"It always looks good because they are pretty bowls but the one that gets you the wickets is the one pitched in the 5-metre mark," said Karthik.
"If India had bowled really well then 60% would have been on the fuller side and 20% on a good length. I made a point earlier, the bowlers will have to accept that they are gonna get driven every now and then. What the captain can do is maybe have his mid-off and mid-on straighter and deeper which just gives the bowlers encouragement to pitch it up," Ponting added.
David Warner, meanwhile, looked the best of the Australian batters. Despite the early wicket of Khawaja and the testing spell of Siraj, he guts it out and slowly went on the offence when Umesh Yadav came into the attack. Just when the left-hander was looked set for a big one, he gloved one down the leg side for 43 off Shardul Thakur.
Australia went to lunch on Day 1 at 73/2 with Marnus Labuschagne (26*) and Steve Smith (1*) at the crease.