Cricket: Ponting wearing the blame for taking a punt on batting first

Ricky Ponting. Photo / Hawke's Bay Today
Ricky Ponting. Photo / Hawke's Bay Today

LONDON - Captain Ricky Ponting says he has to cop the blame for his regrettable decision to bat first in Australia's three-wicket test cricket loss to Pakistan at Headingley.

Pakistan ended Australia's 13-test winning streak against them and recorded their first test triumph against the national side for 15 years yesterday.

But the rot really started for Australia on the first morning when the skipper chose to bat first for the 27th successive time after winning the toss.

Ever since he asked England to bat first in the series-turning Edgbaston test in the 2005 Ashes series, Australia have batted first when Ponting has called correctly.

On the surface, the pitch looked dry in Leeds when the match started, especially considering the rain that had fallen in the region before the match. But as is often the case in England, it is just as important to look up in the sky as it is to look at the pitch itself. There was also the suggestion of a bit of moisture still being under the pitch on the opening day.

Pakistan's swing bowling trio - Mohammad Aamer, Mohammad Asif and Umar Gul - could barely have had more favourable overhead conditions on the fresh pitch as they routed Australia for just 88 in 33.1 overs on Wednesday.

From from that moment, Australia were chasing the game and not even Pakistan's capacity to combust was enough to save Ponting's men this time around.

He said the buck stopped with him after the two-test series finished up tied at 1-1. "That's my responsibility, to get those sorts of things right and make those decisions," said Ponting.

"Looking back, you guys were probably surprised as well how much it seamed on that first day.

"The wicket was dry, it had surface cracks in it already, it certainly wasn't something that had heaps of grass on it and you expected to seam all over the place. But it did that and that's my responsibility."


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