Poor Old Ponting
You gotta feel for the man.
Langer, Hayden, Ponting, Martyn (after Waugh), Waugh (the other one), Gilchrist.
Compare that to: Hughes, Watson, Ponting, Hussey, Clarke, Haddin.
Steve Waugh, had he been the captain, might have opted to bat as well, but he would have thought long and hard about it – with that kind of a lineup. Ponting has neither the luxury of that kind of a lineup, nor the kind of bowling attack that will gloss over any mistakes the batsmen might make out in the middle.
Yet he opted to have the first go on a pitch that might not have had branches growing on it, but did have a certain smattering of the green. Which might have gone down well with the baying critics, if he had responded with one of those Captain Courageous centuries. A golden duck, while playing a shot at which he’s one of the best in the world – not so much. You can almost see Gayle and Roach chuckling away on a beach in the Caribbean.
In fact, now that we’re talking about the Caribbean, the person I am reminded of the most when it comes to Ponting and his present day plight is Richie Richardson. Almost the same situation, just about a couple of decades ago.
It’s not over yet, of course – this is Australia we’re talking about – they can still bounce back.
And of course, this is Pakistan we’re talking about. They will implode. Eventually.
But still, that’s not the point. The point is, Ponting has the unenviable task of making the present look like the past. And when things don’t go according to plan, it looks really ugly indeed.