Ricky Ponting has come under pressure this week from an two Aussie legends. The Australia captain has been criticised by Shane Warne and Geoff Lawson, after India beat the Aussies by seven wickets, to win the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series 2-0.
The loss maintained Ponting’s record of never captaining a series winning side in India.
Warne’s main point of contempt was with the Aussie’s field positions whenever Nathan Hauritz’s was bowling. The off-spinner was spanked to all parts of the Bangalore ground and wasn’t helped by the baffling field positions. Ponting has come out saying Hauritz himself was responsible for setting the field, as well as attempting to play down Warne’s comments. While Hauritz may have set his field, as captain, Ponting should have taken control when it was clear things weren’t working out as planned.
Former paceman Lawson has gone further with his comments, claiming Ponting should step down from skippering the team and hand over power to Michael Clarke before next month’s Ashes series starts. Lawson’s criticism come during Australia’s worst losing streak in 22 years. The fact the it’s been a three test losing streak, shows the dominance of Australia in world cricket for that 22 years.
The result of the loss in India, was that Australia’s ICC world ranking dropped down to fifth, ironically elevating England up a place into fourth. The ranking is Australia’s lowest since 1988, coincidently a year after England had won the Ashes on Aussie soil.
Those looking at Ashes cricket odds note how England will be looking at the Aussie’s situation with a wry smile on their faces. This is surely England’s best chance of winning their first series in Australia in 24 years. Australia’s loss against India, highlighted a host of weaknesses that the English will be hoping to exploit when the Brisbane Test starts on the 25th of November.
Although the Aussie batting line-up is far from the intimidating force of a few years ago, it shouldn’t be underestimated. Ponting is still one of the best batsmen in the world and Marcus North’s century in the Bangalore Test proved he’s back to his best.
Clarke has proved to be a thorn in English sides on more than one occasion will be keen for the battles to start. England’s best chance is to take advantage of their opponents suspect bowling attack. Hauritz isn’t enjoying the best spell in his career and the Aussie’s don’t currently have a fast bowler who those placing a cricket bet would back to consistently perform at a high level.