Domain Test Series v New Zealand
Aussie quicks need to sharpen tactics, says Ponting
Australia captain expects an unchanged XI for the Perth Test but says bowling unit he rates the best in the world still has room to improve
Martin Smith in Adelaide
3 December 2019, 12:39 PM AEST
Former Test skipper Ricky Ponting expects Australia will take the same XI into the first Domain Test against New Zealand, praising their bowlers for "grinding away" in unhelpful conditions in Adelaide this week.
And despite the impressive pace battery that India have assembled in recent years, Ponting believes Australia's bowlers outstrip those of the world's No.1 Test side.
Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon bowled 163.4 of Australia's 176.4 consecutive overs to guide Australia to victory against Pakistan in Adelaide and they now have 10 days to recuperate before the first of three Domain Tests against the Black Caps begins in Perth on December 12.
Ponting said he was surprised by some of Australia's bowling tactics against Pakistan, notably on day three when they opted against a short-ball attack against century-maker Yasir Shah, and on the fourth day when he believes they bowled far too straight to top-scorer Shaan Masood.
But he lauded Australia's four-man attack for taking 20 wickets with a pink Kookaburra ball that made breakthroughs hard to come by.
"It's been pretty flat and the ball for most of that has been pretty soft, so they've done a good job to win the game as easily as they have," Ponting told cricket.com.au.
"There's been a few sessions of play in the last few Test matches where it's been not just a little bit wrong, but a lot wrong on the tactical side of things. But it's easy for me to say that in the commentary box, they've obviously got their own ideas and their own plans.
"I can't see how there'll be any changes (to the XI for the Perth Test).
"It's been hard for them (the bowlers) here. It hasn't been hot, but the wicket has been flat and hard and they've run in and kept grinding away like they always do.
"With a week off now, they will freshen up and I'd expect the same XI."
India's ascent up the world Test rankings has been built on the back of their impressive array of fast bowlers, led by Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami and Ishant Sharma, who guided them to a breakthrough series win in Australia last summer.
Ponting acknowledged the class of the Indian attack, but said he would prefer the Australian bowlers, if given the choice.
"I'm taking ours every day of the week," he said.
"India's is fantastic; Bumrah and Shami have been amazing for the last couple of years and then you put Umesh Yadav into the equation with Ishant Sharma, they've got some very, very good fast bowlers.
"And when you put (spinners Ravi) Ashwin and (Ravi) Jadeja in there, their attack is very good.
"But their spinners struggle more in Australia, Nathan Lyon has a much better record in Australia than the Indian spinners have.
"And I love the variation we have with Mitchell Starc in the line-up; that left-armer just provides a little bit of something different.
"And he's bowling as well as I've ever seen him, so there's some even better signs for this Australian attack."
Domain Test Series v New Zealand
Australia squad: Tim Paine (c), Joe Burns, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner.
New Zealand squad: TBC
Second Test: December 26-30, MCG (Seven, Fox & Kayo)
Third Test: January 3-7, SCG (Seven, Fox & Kayo)