The West Indies pace attack – relying on judicious use of short-pitched bowling – rocked the Australian top order to reduce them to 38/4, and later to 79/5 at Trent Bridge on Thursday. Ricky Ponting hopes that the batsmen lean from their mistakes before they take on India at The Oval on Sunday.
“It could very well be … a wake-up call,” Ponting told cricket.com.au. “Just understanding that if you are under pressure in big games like World Cup games, finding a mechanism or a way to get through (is important). It could be just a good learning curve for those guys at the top and hopefully they’ll bounce back strong.”
Usman Khawaja, who had been hit by a bouncer in a practice match last month by Andre Russell, struggled against the same bowler at Trent Bridge, before being dismissed to a rash shot. Ponting, one of the best players of the pull-shot during his playing days, is determined to help Khawaja overcome the failure.
“I’ve got some notes written in my book about that exact thing. Usman got hit again … so he’s had a few hits in the last few weeks. I haven’t spoken to him (to see) if he’s rattled, but that’s part and parcel of top order batting against brand new balls against guys who are bowling 140 kph an hour. You’ve got to find a way to cope and a way to get through hostile spells knowing that it’s not going to last forever.”
The two time World-cup winning captain wasn’t too impressed by the manner in which Glenn Maxwell conceded his wicket, playing a mistimed pull shot off the second delivery he faced. “It’s a bit of an uncharacteristic shot from (Maxwell) as well, he’s not a natural hooker and puller of the ball anyway. These are the things I want to ask him about as well when we finish up tonight, just get inside their heads a little bit.”
Ponting feels Jasprit Bumrah, India’s strike bowler, with his variations in length, would be a tough challenge for Australia. “Bumrah, we know, is a very good new ball bowler and I’m sure he’ll mix it up and bowl some short stuff and some full stuff,” he said.
“Do they maybe go with only the one spinner and use Kedhav Jadav as a second spinner and play another fast bowler? We’ll worry about that in the next couple of days and make sure all the boys are prepared,” Ponting concluded.