Does England have a plan for the second Ashes Test, asks Ponting

by IANS |

Adelaide, Dec 18 (IANS) Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting has flayed England skipper Joe Root for not coming into the second Ashes Test with a plan other than to just bowl short and wait for Steve Smith and Co. to commit errors.

Day 2 of the pink-ball Test saw the host batsmen frustrate England pace-bowling stalwarts James Anderson and Chris Broad, with Chris Woakes too receiving some rough treatment. Australia finally declared their innings at 473 for 9, and then reduced England to 17/2.

However, England, led by fighting unbeaten 39 and 27 by Dawid Malan and skipper Joe Root respectively in the first session on Day 3, had reached 79/2 to reduce the deficit to 394 runs.

Ponting, who is also the coach of Indian Premier League (IPL) side Delhi Capitals, said on Saturday that, "Apart from the short-ball plan Stokes executed (on the first day), England didn't seem to have much of a plan after that. It was run in and bowl back-of-a-length and wait for the Aussies to make mistakes."

"Well, when you're bowling to two of the top three batsmen in the world, they're not going to make mistakes. You've got to find a way to get them out and change things up." Ponting told cricket.com.au on Saturday.

England tried to unsettle the Australian top order with either back-of-a-length or extremely short deliveries, which was counter-productive as opener David Warner (95), Marnus Labuschagne (103), stand-in skipper Steve Smith (93) and Alex Carey (51) played the balls on merit to take the hosts to a strong position.

Ponting felt that England should have bowled full in a bid to swing the pink Kookaburra, adding that he wasn't sure whether skipper Root was instructing them to bowl short or the two bowling stalwarts - Anderson and Broad - were simply stubborn.

"It can also be stubbornness from the bowlers and the unwillingness to change - that's what it looked like from Broad and Anderson with the new ball yesterday," said Ponting.

"It was like, 'No we'll run in and bowl back-of-a-length, bowl tight, not give them any runs and we'll strike and before you know it they'll be three or four down with the scoreboard not going anywhere'. Well. it didn't happen and it doesn't happen very often against good players," added Ponting.

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