Ricky Ponting
Ricky Ponting

Australia are in a safe zone after the first day of the fifth and final Ashes Test at The Oval. However, former Australia captain Ricky Ponting feels Tim Paine‘s decision to bowl first was a ‘gutsy’ move. Ponting admitted that he was surprised by Paine’s decision and said the result of the match will decide whether he took the right call or not.

“I never try to make too much of it until the game is over because really that’s where it will be the right decision or the wrong decision,” Ricky Ponting told cricket.com.au. “It’s always dependent on the result of the game. I’m sure (Paine) is probably breathing a little bit easier than he was just after lunch when England were going well.”

Ponting recalled the situation what had happened during the toss.

“I was standing with a couple of the Aussie boys on the side of the wicket and when (match referee Javagal Srinath) looked over and said ‘Tim, you’ve won the toss’,” Ponting recalled. “I then said to the boys ‘we’re batting’ and then Painey went to the mic and said ‘we’ll have a bowl’. I thought ‘that’s interesting’.”

England captain Joe Root
England captain Joe Root (Image source: Sky Sports)

However, a couple of eyebrows were raised when the Aussies dropped a few catches, as well as Joe Root, got three lives. At first, he was dropped by Peter Siddle and then Paine off Pat Cummins. The third time by Steve Smith, although it was a difficult chance.

“Siddle’s was the easiest one dropped today,” Ricky Ponting added. “Paine’s one is a 50-50 one for a fielder but it’s probably a 70-30, 80-20 one for a keeper with the gloves on. And Smithy’s, we probably mark him pretty hard as well. He catches them more often than not.”

However, Ponting backed the players, saying that it was not a case of them not being there mentally or having the right attitude. Instead, he surmised that it was just one of those days where it either went right or it didn’t. Ricky Ponting even spoke to Australia coach Justin Langer, who told him that they trained better leading into this game than they have during the whole series.