Ricky Ponting feels Australia’s defeat to India mostly stems from their batting fragility, with the former captain believing that home team needs plenty of areas to tick if they are to have a chance of winning the Test series. So far Australia’s batting has failed to click, with the team getting bowled out for scores of 191, 195 and 200 in three of the four innings. Ponting expressed major concerns at Australia’s lack of partnerships but mostly at the rate at which they are scoring runs.
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“It’s all about partnerships and they haven’t had any partnerships through the first couple of games. The cracks are probably painted over from Adelaide. (Australia) made 191 there, 195 and 200 here. That’s not batting in Test match cricket. And the worry I’ve got is how long it takes them to get those runs. That’s my issue,” Ponting told cricket.com.au.
“They’ve scored at two-and-a-half runs an over in Adelaide and here (in Melbourne) and they did (that) against India in the last series out here (and) that was also another losing series. They’ve got to show some more intent. They can’t be scared of getting out. They’ve got to go out there and bat and score runs and they’ve got to get them quicker than two-and-a-half runs an over because what we’ve seen from Adelaide to here, if they’re trying to apply themselves and bat for long periods of time they haven’t been good enough to do that.
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“I think they need to have a good look at how they’re playing, a look at their personnel. They’ve got a lot of work to do. Whoever they pick in the next XI it’s going to be a great test of character for all of them.”
What adds to Australia’s batting woes, Ponting reckons, is the absence of David Warner and lack of runs from Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne, three of their batting pillars. Warner has missed the first two Tests of the series due to an injured hamstring and remains a doubtful starter even for the third, whereas Smith, in four innings, is yet to enter double digits (1, 1*, 0 and 8). Labuschagne has gotten starts – 47, 28 and 48 – but hasn’t been able to take it forward.
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“They need Warner back, they need Smith to score runs, they need Labuschagne 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,” Ponting said.
“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.”