The Edgbaston curator has warned that the wicket greeting the tourists – eager for revenge will be “Like jelly” and contain plenty of life favouring the seam bowlers.
This presents problems for both captains but in particular Ponting, who has been heavily criticised for past decisions and who is desperate to level the series.
Andrew Strauss in
Ricky Ponting understands this perspective better than most after his decision in 2005 at Edgbaston – the same venue for the third test. With Glenn McGrath on the sidelines icing an ankle he’d injured in the warm up, Ponting sent the old enemy into bat and it back fired dramatically.
What followed over the next five days is now part of cricketing folklore, with the Aussies falling just two runs short of claiming a remarkable victory. Despite the memorable contest it was the heroics of the Australian tail that brought us within a whisker of winning the day — and subsequently the Ashes – and not the wisdom of the captain.
In that classic match the English, as they have done in the first two tests of the current series, amassed a huge first innings total that put the Aussies firmly on the back foot.
Combined with an overall poor performance from our pace attack (which this morning has been strengthened by the surprise selection of Shane Watson in place of batsman Phil Hughes), the slice of luck has allowed
In the case of Lords it also meant the Aussie batsman were faced with poor conditions, conducive with swing on day two.
With history weighing heavy on Ponting’s shoulders, the decision on whether to bat or bowl will be one the skipper is desperate to avoid. Instinct may have the stubborn Tasmanian ready to back his bowlers but lingering doubt might persuade him to play it safe.
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