Ricky Ponting scored 48 runs for Warne’s Warriors in the first game

Ricky Ponting scored 48 runs for Warne’s Warriors in the first game of the ongoing All-stars series.

Ponting came to bat at the fall of Matthew Hayden’s wicket in the third over and made sure that he batted through to guide his team to the modest target of 141.

The target was actually well within the reach of the Warriors when they started their innings on the short ground, but, Shoaib Akhtar bowled a hostile spell with the new ball and did not let the openers get to a flier.

Ponting was circumspect against Shoaib first up and let his spell pass before he started taking the slightly aggressive route and went for a few shots.

He knocked the spinners around in the post power play period and made sure he was there at one end to let others bat around him.

The required run rate climbed up a little bit in the middle though when Muttiah Muralitharan bowled a couple of economical overs, but, Ponting was never fazed and his job was made easy at the end by Jonty Rhodes who came and finished the innings with a flurry of sixes including a switch hit off the bowling of the opposition captain Sachin Tendulkar.

Ponting could not win the player of the match award though. It went to Shane Warne who had shown his artistry in leg spin bowling earlier to get three wickets on a flat surface.

Ricky Ponting reckons a different brand of Cricket balls should be used in the domestic set up in Australia.

Currently, it’s the Kookaburra balls which are in use in first class Cricket down under, but, according to the Punter, there is a need to consider using Dukes as they would pose more challenges to the batsmen and would ultimately help them getting their techniques tightened up.

The Dukes have the reputation to swing for a bigger length of time than the Kookaburras which hardly swing.

Apart from the balls, the other thing that Ponting is not happy about is the fact that the pitches at almost all the venues in Australia are getting flatter and flatter.

In the views of the most successful Australian captain till date, the batsmen should be put in difficult batting conditions from time to time so that they do not get exposed badly when they tour overseas especially to the countries like England.

On their recent Ashes tour, the Kangaroos were bowled out for 136 and 60 respectively in their first innings in the third and the 4th test match and those two batting performances took the urn away from them.

If Mitchell Starc has to sit out of the second Ashes test match which is to be played in Lord’s, the Australian bowling attack will get significantly weakened.

Starc is a big threat for the batsmen in English conditions, not only with his pace, but, with his swing as well.

He is one of those rare pacers going around who can make the ball move in the air at quite a bit of speed.

He had a bad ankle in Cardiff; still he cranked up good speeds and ended up as Australia’s most successful bowler there.

However, the kind of discomfort he looked in while bowling in the latter parts of the third day, one could make out that his injury was getting from bad to worse and thus, for him to pull up in only 4 days’ time, it’s unlikely.

And, knowing Australia’s philosophy, their selection committee would never pick someone who is 80 or 90% fit.

They would have probably thought of doing so if it was a One Day International, but, a test match is a different ball game.

Ricky Ponting’s Mumbai Indians finally got on to the board in the ongoing 8th edition of the Indian Premier League as they beat Royal Challengers Bangalore yesterday at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.

Batting first, Mumbai posted more than 200 and then defended that score successfully with the wily off spinner Harbhajan Singh leading the way for them.

Bangalore actually approached the chase with an unclear mind. They had more than 10 runs per over to score from the start and it was a no brainer that they had to go hard, but, for some reason, they were happy scoring just a run a ball in the power play and as a result of that, the pressure kept mounting.

However, in spite of that sort of start, Bangalore managed to reach 191 and that suggests how good the wicket was.

If the start had been a little better, the target was gettable.

The culprit for Bangalore again was Chris Gayle. He took too many deliveries upfront and then, got out leaving the other players with an impossible task.

AB De Villiers though, being the inhuman that he is, tried his best batting with a strike rate of more than 400, but, there was always the possibility of him going to mistime a stroke somewhere down the line and it happened.