Ponting wants more from pacemen

Australia captain

Ponting’s men won last week’s first Test at Lord’s by 150 runs.


But Australia’s crushing victory featured Test-best bowling from both medium-pacer Shane Watson, with five for 40 in the first innings, and an even more incredible six for 55 from part-time spinner Marcus North in the second.

Given conditions were overcast for much of the time at Lord’s, Ponting indicated Watson and North’s hauls ought to be almost as concerning for the likes of Australia left-arm quick Mitchell Johnson, who had match figure of one for 105, as they were for Pakistan.

“If you want to be critical you can probably look at the fact that we got 11 wickets out of Watson and North in the game,” Ponting told reporters here on Monday. “Our fast bowlers probably tried a little bit too hard I think in conditions that were suiting the quicker bowlers.

“I think they probably tried to get a bit too much out of the wicket.

“That can happen here (Leeds) as well because you know this is a place that can nip about a bit for the seamers – we’ve spoken about that a bit.”

While a misfiring seam attack and a failure by the other batsmen to offer more solid support to Simon Katich while the opener was making 80 in Australia’s first innings at Lord’s did not prevent his team beating Pakistan for a record 13th straight time, Ponting is aware such lapses could hurt far more against England.

Last year’s Ashes saw England take the series 2-1, despite being bested on almost all individual statistics, because they ‘won’ key moments.

Now Australia will look to set the record straight when England travel ‘Down Under’ for the next Ashes contest starting in November.

“We know we were a bit inconsistent in the last Ashes series,” Ponting said.

“Experience had a big part in it. We had some young guys that were playing their first real big Test series last time and as a result of that I think they’ve all improved.

“You’d like to think that some of the errors and mistakes we made under pressure last time, we won’t repeat again when the next Ashes comes around.

“In saying that this week is still a big Test for us as well and we’ve got a couple in India which are always challenging.

“We’ve got a bit of work to do yet before we even start thinking we are in the best shape we can be for November.”

Pakistan will be captained at Headingley by opener Salman Butt, who made his side’s only two fifties at Lord’s, following Shahid Afridi’s decision to quit Tests after the series opener.

“We don’t know what to make of him as captain,” Ponting said of Butt.

“I thought he played really well last game. We don’t know what’s going to happen – I wouldn’t be surprised if Afridi even plays yet.”

Although Australia’s batsmen struggled at Lord’s, Pakistan, with Azhar Ali and Umar Amin making their debuts in the key slots of three and four, fared considerably worse.

“When you are brought up in Pakistan you don’t generally see the ball seam around and swing around like it did last week,” Ponting said.

“With the inexperience they have got in their batting, in their three and no four guys making their debut last week, we also feel we can get the Akmals (brothers Umar and Kamran) pretty early as well when they come in, if we expose them at the right time.”