Aussies should 'go even harder': Ponting
Ricky Ponting says now is the time for Australia to keep their foot on the throat of England in the wake of heavy Gabba loss
Martin Smith at the Gabba
27 November 2017, 05:38 PM AEST
Ashes-winning captain Ricky Ponting has urged Australia to "go even harder" at an England side facing multiple issues on and off the field, saying a 5-0 series whitewash could be on the cards if they improve on an inconsistent batting performance in Brisbane.
After an closely fought opening three days of this Magellan Ashes series, Australia will fly to Adelaide on Tuesday with a 1-0 series lead and their opponents facing questions about their team culture following revelations this week involving Jonny Bairstow and the continuing police investigation into allrounder Ben Stokes.
Ponting told cricket.com.au earlier this month that England would struggle to win any of the five Tests this summer and he says he didn't see anything in Brisbane to change his pre-series prediction.
And he urged the Australians to show no mercy in their quest to regain the Ashes urn and potentially sweep the series, like his team did in 2006-07.
"It's moments like this in series when you need to go even harder," Ponting told cricket.com.au.
"When you know that you've got an opposition down and there's things going around their camp, that's when you've got to be harder on yourself as a group of Australian players and make sure they don't let them back into the series.
"I think back to 2006-07 here in Australia where we had a really good win here in Brisbane. We went to Adelaide, we didn't get off to a good start down there, but we turned that around into a really positive win.
"And once we won that game there, we knew that we'd broken them and we had to keep our foot on their throats and whitewash the series, which is what we did.
"And I honestly think there's a chance for this Australian team to do the same thing all over. If they pay attention to their own backyard and pay attention to detail and try and find ways to improve every game, I think they can win every game."
But Ponting warned the home side's batsmen would need to lift in next week's day-night Test in Adelaide, where conditions should be perfectly suited to England's swing bowlers.
Steve Smith's masterful century at the Gabba saved his side after an early collapse in their first innings and the tourists could be let back into the series if the captain's teammates don't help to carry the batting load next week.
"We can't afford to rely on him every game," Ponting said of Smith. "He's the No.1 batsman in the world and for all the right reasons, but we need a more even contribution from all of our batsman.
"I didn't see much wrong with the bowling. (Mitchell) Starc probably didn't look at his absolute best, but then he bounced back yesterday and got the team on a bit of a roll with late wickets in the second innings.
"I thought the quicks would terrorise this English batting line-up and they've started doing that. They won't want to let their foot off now that they've created a few cracks in this line-up already."
And Ponting believes the off-field issues facing England will make it even harder for the tourists to buck the trend of history and lift the Ashes urn having lost the opening match of the series.
"Ashes tours are hard enough as it is without having other distractions and things like this going on around the team," he said.
"Right now, you sort of feel for Joe Root a little bit because he's a young captain, he's on his first Ashes tour of Australia and he's got all this other stuff he's got to deal with.
"All sorts of questions are going to be asked about their leadership and their structures around their team and their coaching staff and everyone involved in cricket in the UK.
"But that's for them for worry about."
2017-18 International Fixtures
Magellan Ashes Series
Australia Test squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine (wk), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood, Jackson Bird, Chadd Sayers.
England Test squad: Joe Root (c), James Anderson (vc), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Gary Ballance, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Mason Crane, Tom Curran, Ben Foakes, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ben Stokes, Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Chris Woakes.
First Test Australia won by 10 wickets. Scorecard
Second Test Adelaide Oval, December 2-6 (Day-Night). Tickets
Third Test WACA Ground, December 14-18. Tickets
Fourth Test MCG, December 26-30. Tickets
Fifth Test SCG, January 4-8 (Pink Test). Tickets
Gillette ODI Series v England
First ODI MCG, January 14. Tickets
Second ODI Gabba, January 19. Tickets
Third ODI SCG, January 21. Tickets
Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26. Tickets
Fifth ODI Perth Stadium, January 28. Tickets
Prime Minister's XI
PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2. Tickets
Gillette T20 trans-Tasman Tri-Series
First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3. Tickets
Second T20I – Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7. Tickets
Third T20I – Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Tickets
Fourth T20I – NZ v England, Wellington, February 14
Fifth T20I – NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16
Sixth T20I – NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18
Final – TBC, Eden Park, February 21