Friday, 11 January 2008

Ponting's fortress

Ricky Ponting has an extraordinary record as Australian captain. In his 39 Tests in charge the Australians have racked up 31 wins, 5 draws and just 3 losses. All of the losses have occurred away from home, though Australia's record on their travels is still very impressive - 11 wins, 3 draws and 3 losses in the 17 Tests they have played.

Yet it is at home that Ponting's Australians have set new standards. On familiar turf, backed by their vociferous supporters, they have won 20 of the 22 Tests they have played, drawing the other two.

Most of the top Test playing nations have good home records, as you would expect when a team has the advantages of familiarity with the pitches and conditions, crowd support and the comforts of home, but the Australians under Ponting have taken it to a new level.

Playing their brand of hard, aggressive cricket, Australia have attacked the opposition from the beginning, never relaxing the pressure until victory has been achieved. This has incurred criticism from some quarters, but the results cannot be argued with. Under Ponting, Australia are literally unbeatable at home.

The only flaw in Ponting's record came at the hands of the old enemy, England, when he was forced to hand over the Ashes after a 2-1 loss away from home. Having suffered a lot of personal criticism for the loss, as well as the team being written off, Ponting sought to prove himself once again.

It is no surprise that he chose to do so back at home. In the 21 Tests since the Ashes defeat Australia have won 20, drawing the other one. Of those 21 matches 16 have been at home, the other 5 being 2 in Bangladesh and 3 in South Africa. Those 21 Tests have also included the recent world record equalling 16 wins in a row, 11 of which came at home, including the last 9.

Given their amazing level of dominance at home it may be that Ponting's men will be asked to play all their future Tests away, just to give the other Test playing nations a chance to bridge the yawning gulf between them and the Australians.

1 comment:

Dean said...

Ponting is statistically one of our best captains ever, so it amazes me that some people are calling for his sacking. Behavioural issues are one thing, but when you look at what the guy has done, it's incredible.