Brisbane: Ricky Ponting voiced his support for Ryan Harris to be included in the lineup for the second Ashes Test after he and fellow paceman Doug Bollinger were named today in Australia’s 13-man squad for the Adelaide match.
The Australia captain, who also criticized the use of video technology for borderline catches after the first Ashes Test ended in a draw, is known to be a big supporter of Harris. After a disappointing bowling display from his side during England’s 517-1 second innings on Monday, he admitted a big improvement is needed.
Harris, who along with Bollinger, will travel to Adelaide with the existing lineup ahead of the Test starting Friday, broke into the Australian side on the tour of New Zealand in March taking nine wickets in two Tests before succumbing to a knee injury.
“There’s lots of things to like about him,” Ponting said. “The fact that he’s had such great success at international cricket shows he’s one of those guys whose just meant to be playing.”
In addition to being impressed with performance in New Zealand, Ponting believes Harris is ideally suited to bowling at Adelaide Oval.
“He came into international cricket and had immediate success,” Ponting said. “He’s a great competitor, he runs in all day for you and is the sort of guy who will bowl the right length for Adelaide conditions.
“He’ll run in and bang the ball in down there, which is crucial if you’re going to get the best out of the Adelaide wicket, and if it happens to reverse swing he can do that as well.”
The 31-year-old Harris only returned to action for Queensland against Ponting’s Tasmania this month, but Ponting does not believe the injury will cause him any problems.
“He certainly got through the (Sheffield) Shield game well in Hobart a couple of weeks ago and I understand he’s getting through the Shield game he’s playing at the moment particularly well,” Ponting said.
“If we get a flat wicket in Adelaide we have to make sure we are a whole lot better than we were in this game.”
Another bugbear for the Australia captain was the use of video technology to judge borderline catches after he was denied a catch off Alastair Cook, then on 209, during the final day.
“I said to the umpire straight away that thought I was pretty sure I caught the ball,” Ponting said.
“As soon as they referred it you knew what the result was going to be. That’s why six or seven years ago I pleaded with every opposition captain around the world to take it out of the hands of the referrals but I didn’t get much support.”
Cook went on to score 235. Although he accepted that the disputed catch had no effect on the final result, Ponting was clearly dissatisfied.
“I think it’s a blight on the game that we are trusting on technology that isn’t good enough to show,” he said. “I could have caught the ball and thrown it up in the air and no one would have asked any questions about it.”