Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting was extremely surprised at England’s tactics on the fourth day of the fourth Test at Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester. England have displayed a great performance and registered a nail-biting one-wicket win, while chasing 359 despite being 286-9 at one time. It was the heroics of Ben Stokes who seal the deal for England by scoring a blistering 135*.
As far as the fourth Test is concerned, at the end of the fourth day, England were 18-2 where both Rory Burns and Joe Root got dismissed by Pat Cummins. The team now need 365 runs more to win the Test match and Australia have a chance to end the Test match as the winning side.
“It’s a completely different set of circumstances. Headingley, that wicket actually got better and better. It finished middle of day four, didn’t even get into the fifth day. This pitch has got worse and worse as the days have gone on,” Ricky Ponting said to cricket.com.au.
“Australia don’t need to be spooked about anything there; one for the fact they should have won, but two it’s not going to be easy for anyone starting on that pitch against Australia’s attack. Nathan Lyon didn’t get any wickets in the first innings, but he will in the second innings. There is going to be so much on offer for him out there it’s not funny. Even some of the balls we saw today, the spin and bounce is going to be a nightmare for anyone starting against him,” Ponting added.
Ponting also believed that Joe Root should have started their session with either Jofra Archer or Stuart Broad.
“I was extremely surprised at England’s tactics after tea. To not start with one of Archer or Broad for me was staggering,” added the former captain.
However, England started their session with Craig Overton and Jack Leach instead of Archer and Broad, that helped Steve Smith to settle down and score big.
“I think the most important phase of play for England was the first hour after tea and they decided to go with Overton and Leach, and I know Overton only bowled three overs but it just seemed to quieten the whole crowd down and it gave Smith a chance to get in and get settled and start again,” Ponting told.
On the other hand, Ricky Ponting shared that England might have thought to use Archer and Broad later in the innings so that they could slow down the game.
“They’ll have their reasons, but it seemed as though they wanted Archer and Broad to bowl late in the session and slow the game down. I think they bowled six overs in 40 minutes. You’d have to say it’s unacceptable to bowl seven-minute overs,” added the batting great.
However, it will be interesting to see who will have the last laugh.