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‘The only difference between India and Australia…’: Ponting on Nagpur pitch | Cricket


Australia suffered a nightmarish start to their campaign in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy as Team India skittled them for just 177 runs in the first Test match at Nagpur on Thursday. The visitors were already in shock after their assessment of pitch conditions before the match even started, accusing India of ‘doctoring’ the Nagpur wicket. And their worst fears came true as India’s spinners led by Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin made the Australian batters dance to their tune, scalping eight wickets between them in the process. After the commanding show by the bowlers, captain Rohit Sharma further piled on worries for the visitors as he stitched a 76-run partnership for the first wicket along with opener KL Rahul. Australia ended the day with a consolation wicket of Rahul but at 77/1, the hosts are in the driver’s seat already.

The visitors’ bowlers failed to weave a spin-web or rather one might say that India’s batters negotiated the conditions better. Whatever might be the reason, Australia’s hapless situation didn’t go down well with former Aussie skipper Ricky Ponting. In ICC review, Ponting under whose leadership Australia had last won a Test series in India, described the Nagpur-pitch conditions.

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“I expected today’s wicket to play like it has. I got a look at it like everyone did a few days ago, and that’s when all the talk started about the surface. But India’s best chance of beating Australia is to prepare turning wickets. One, because our batsmen will find it difficult, but also because they would think that their spin bowlers are better than Australia’s as well,” said Ponting.

“And the fact that Australia are playing the two right-arm off-spinners here, one of those guys on debut. That’s definitely where India have the advantage. So I can understand why it’s worked out that way,” he added.

However, Ponting was quick to highlight that back at home, the players or Cricket Australia didn’t get involved with the process of preparing pitches.

“The only difference I guess with somewhere like India to Australia is, I know in Australia the players actually have no say over how the wickets are prepared at all. Unless things have changed the last couple of years, when I was playing, and certainly after I’d finished, the captains or anyone from Cricket Australia never even spoke to the groundsmen. You just left it up to the groundsmen to prepare the best wicket that they could,” highlighted Ponting.

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