This could conceivably be the last Test that Boland plays: Ponting

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28 Dec 2021 | 07:03 AM
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This could conceivably be the last Test that Boland plays: Ponting

Hazlewood, Richardson and Neser are all expected to be available for the fourth Test in Sydney

Scott Boland dismantled England by picking up six wickets for just seven runs in the second innings of the third Ashes Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground but former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting believes this could very well be paceman’s last Test. The 32-year-old received his maiden Test cap in the absence of Josh Hazlewood, Jhye Richardson and Michael Neser who all are expected to be available for the fourth Test in Sydney.

"That could conceivably be the last Test that he plays. It's staggering to think. He's almost 33, he's just taken six for seven. Hoff (Hazlewood) has got to come back, Jhye's probably ahead of him in the pecking order as well. If there's any worry at all with (Hazlewood) – which one do they pick out of Richardson and Boland? That's going to be the big selection point I think," Ponting told cricket.com.au on Tuesday.

"If Hoff's not available, I think you've got to go back to Jhye. In the pecking order of things, he was selected before Boland for Adelaide – I think that's the fair thing to do. It wasn't like Jhye bowled badly in Adelaide either, he got five wickets in the second innings. On the pecking order it probably deserves to be Jhye, but it would be harsh on Scotty."

Left-arm paceman Mitchell Starc too had a superb game, claiming five crucial wickets. The 31-year-old focused more on 'wobble-seam' deliveries in a bid to find lateral movement rather than relying on swing. (Starc was) not looking to bowl the traditional inswinger to right-handers that he normally bowls, he had the seam angle a bit more towards the slips – it looked he was trying to bowl a bit more of an off-cutter," explained Ponting.

"That was the one that got Crawley, the one he got Dawid Malan with nipped back and even the hat-trick ball was the same. He's had Hazelwood and Pat Cummins to learn it off, because they're not great swingers of the ball either and both of them have developed that wobble seam, scrambled seam type delivery. To have those guys to learn from is gold. That's what the best teams do, they learn from each other and teach and coach each other. He's in the latter part of his career but he's still developing new tricks."

Ponting also criticised England for their poor planning, thoughts and structures, saying it has "come back to bite them" after the visitors lost the Ashes following an embarrassing defeat. Joe Root's men were the fastest to surrender the Urn after they were skittled out for just 68 on day three of the third Test to lose the match by an innings and 14 runs. England lost the first two Tests by nine wickets and 275 runs at Brisbane and Adelaide respectively.

"They've out-thought themselves with their selections for Brisbane, looking forward to Adelaide and then looking forward to the MCG. Pick your best team from the start and then see how far that group can take you. The fact that Anderson and Broad didn't play in Brisbane is staggering. The fact that Joe Root didn't bowl first in Brisbane was staggering. The fact that Mark Wood didn't play in Adelaide was staggering. He looked like one of the most likely bowlers up in Brisbane," Ponting told Channel Seven. 

"All their planning, their thoughts and their structures have just been completely wrong, and it's come back to bite them. There's no good looking forward from Brisbane if you're going to be one or two-nil down. And that's what it was: they planned for Melbourne already being two-nil down, they've come here and been pantsed again. So, they've got some really, really deep thinking to do."

(With inputs from PTI)

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