Former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting expressed concerns after the team suffered a massive defeat against India in the Boxing Day Test and said selectors have got a lot of thinking to do over the next few days. India on Tuesday secured an eight-wicket victory over Australia in the second Test. David Warner was ruled out of the second Test while Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschange failed to perform as per their capabilities which gave India an upper hand in the match. Ponting said Warner, Smith and Labuschange are “vitally important” for the team.
“They need Warner back, they need Smith to score runs, they need Labuschange to find the form of last summer as well. (Labuschagne) has not looked to be in as good a touch as he was last summer and those three players are just so vitally important to this Australian line-up, it’s as simple as that,” Cricket.com.au quoted Ponting as saying.
“We saw the last tour out here (in 2018-19) with Smith and Warner not being there how frail Australia looked then. Right now, Smith basically hasn’t been there, Warner hasn’t been there and Marnus has made a couple of 40s but had all sorts of luck and not been able to capitalise. It just goes to show how important they are,” he added.
Australia will have to answer a lot of questions before they pick the playing XI for the third Test in Sydney, according to Ponting, who also opined over the players who should feature in the third game.
“I think it’s pretty obvious — if Warner’s fit then Burns just goes out. I’m sure there’ll be some talk about does (Matthew) Wade stay at the top or do we bring in another opener if it’s Pucovski or (Marcus) Harris. Do you go with two settled openers and slot Wade back down in the middle and someone like Travis Head misses out?” he said.
“It’s hard for me to say what’s going to happen because I don’t know what’s available but I think the questions right now will be Burns, and I’m sure there will be a few (other) questions — I’ve been hearing them today — about Travis Head’s spot in the team. I would hope they stick with Head. I don’t think they’d be wanting to make too many changes in the middle of a series but the selectors… they’ve got more questions to answer now than they have had in a long, long time. They’ve got a lot of talking, a lot of thinking to do over the next few days,” Ponting added.
The third Test between India and Australia begins on January 7 at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
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