WTC Final, IND vs AUS: Ponting lauds Siraj as 'ultimate competitor'; says India should've bowled fuller
At the conclusion of Day 2 in the WTC Final between India and Australia, Ricky Ponting recognised that India failed to capitalise by not bowling fuller lengths. However, he commended Mohammed Siraj for his determination and referred to him as the "ultimate competitor."
On the Day 2 of the WTC final between India and Australia, Mohammed Siraj's impressive four-wicket haul helped India regain momentum in the game. Despite Siraj's efforts, Australia managed to score 469 runs in their first innings, with centuries from Travis Head and Steve Smith. Siraj stood out as the lone standout performer with the ball, taking wickets of Usman Khawaja, Head, Pat Cummins, and Nathan Lyon, reaching a milestone of 50 Test wickets.
Ricky Ponting, the former Australia captain, acknowledged that India missed an opportunity by not bowling fuller, but he praised Siraj for his determination and labeled him the "ultimate competitor."
"I loved seeing that and he looks like the ultimate competitor. Maybe sometimes he gets carried away and goes a little bit over the top, but you need those guys in your side when things aren't going well," Ponting told the ICC on Thursday.
Mohammad Siraj attacked Australia with short pitch deliveries and also showed much-needed aggression on the field, which impressed Ponting.
"He was the one today (Thursday) who said I am going to be the guy that is going to turn things around and what I loved was that his pace didn't drop at all during the whole innings.
"From the first ball yesterday morning until late this afternoon, his pace was hovering around that 86 or 87-mile and hour mark and that says a lot about a great attitude."
Ponting feels Indian bowlers should have looked to bowl fuller lengths instead of bowling short.
"I think where they let themselves down was in the first hour yesterday and bowling too short. With the wicket conditions, the overhead conditions they had and the brand new Dukes ball, they had to bowl fuller and get the ball driven back down the ground," he said.
"They needed to have Australia four or five down at lunch and they only had them two down which was a pretty good result (for Australia)," said Ponting, recalling the first session on the opening day, which so far has been the best in terms of assistance to fast bowlers.
Without getting into the discussion of whether India should have played Ravichnadran Ashwin in the WTC final, Ponting said India's decision to play four seamers might pay its dividends later in the game.
"I know the captain wears the brunt of it (criticism), but I know it's not only his decision. I saw Rahul Dravid and him (Rohit Sharma) out in the middle yesterday morning and they had a long discussion about what they wanted to do at the toss." Ponting said.
"If they wanted to bowl first I think they had to play the four seamers. So far you would say it hasn't paid off but there is a long way to go and we probably shouldn't be too quick to judge," he added.