Vodafone Test Series v India
'There's some serious wounds opened up': Ponting
Test legend Ricky Ponting analyses what India needs to do to bounce back from their chastening Adelaide defeat, and the selection dilemma now facing Australia
20 December 2020, 10:00 AM AEST
Before the Vodafone Test Series began, former Australia captain Ricky Ponting predicted a 2-1 series win to the hosts. But having witnessed India's capitulation in Adelaide the Test great says a series sweep could be on the cards.
India started day three at Adelaide Oval in a commanding position at 1-9 with a 62-run lead. But in the space of 16 overs they were bundled out for 36 – their lowest ever total in Test match cricket – and had all but surrendered the first Test.
No batter made it to double figures as Josh Hazlewood (5-8) and Pat Cummins (4-21) ran riot with the pink ball before their batters ticked off the 90 runs for victory with eight wickets in hand.
Having seen first-hand the demolition job wrought by Australia, Ponting says India will do well to rebound after such a demoralising defeat, with a clean sweep a strong possibility.
"Now there's some serious wounds opened up," Ponting told cricket.com.au.
"There could be a good chance (of a sweep).
"Let's hope we do get a result in Melbourne and if we do, I think India's going to find it really hard to bounce back and win a game."
If India are to bounce back they will have to do it without their talismanic captain Virat Kohli, who now heads home for the birth of his first child while his teammates head to Melbourne for the Boxing Day Test under the captaincy of Ajinkya Rahane.
Kohli's departure means at least one change for the second Test but Ponting says the visitors should think long and hard about their misfiring batting order, starting at the top with youngster Prithvi Shaw, who made scores of 0 and 4 and was bowled through the gate in both innings.
Ponting also called for gloveman Wriddhiman Saha to make way for explosive keeper-batter Rishabh Pant, with prolific young batter Shubman Gill a chance to play in Melbourne.
But more than the personnel adjustments, Ponting says regrouping after such a flattening defeat will be the real test for India.
"We'll learn a lot about them, won't we?" Ponting said.
"With Kohli not being there as well there's almost no-one to pick them back up after a loss like that.
"They've got to make a couple of changes. Rishabh Pant has to be in that middle order.
"With Kohli not being there they've got to strengthen their batting, he's got to come in.
"They'll look at Prithvi Shaw at the top of the order I'm sure but there's one thing to make selection changes there's another to lift the spirits back up again and make sure they're mentally right for the next challenge because the Australians are not going to go away now.
"Now they're got a bit of a sniff they're going to go even harder next game."
Australia could face their own selection dilemma should David Warner and Will Pucovski both be available for Boxing Day.
Warner has been sidelined with an adductor strain while Pucovski is recovering from the concussion he sustained in the first tour match at Drummoyne Oval.
With Burns posting an unbeaten 51, Ponting says the Queenslander should keep his place which could leave the selectors choosing between a senior player or a rookie if Warner is available.
"If David's fit he comes straight back in … they've got a decision to make then on (Cameron) Green and (Matthew) Wade," Ponting said. "That's the only obvious thing there.
"If both and Pucovski and Warner are fit I think Will will have to wait again.
"On the back of Burns getting fifty they've got to keep going with him, that's the right call and that's fair enough.
"There's a couple of little things there for the Aussies to think about but India will have a lot more headaches than them."
Vodafone Test Series v India 2020-21
Australia Test squad: Tim Paine (c), Joe Burns, Pat Cummins, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Will Pucovski, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade, David Warner
India Test squad: Virat Kohli (c) (first Test only), Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Rishabh Pant (wk), Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Siraj
First Test: Australia won by eight wickets
Second Test: December 26-30, MCG, 10.30am AEDT
Third Test: January 7-11, SCG, 10.30am AEDT
Fourth Test: January 15-19, Gabba, 11am AEDT