Ricky Ponting calls right but suffers déjà vu

Leeds: Winning the toss at Headingley is often not the best thing a captain can do as Ricky Ponting found out on Wednesday.

The Australia captain called correctly in the second Test against Pakistan and raised eyebrows when electing to bat, only to see his side capitulate to 88 all out and their lowest Test total for 26 years.

It was against Ponting`s team that England skipper Andrew Strauss made the same call last year, opting to bat in overcast conditions and watching his side slump to 102 all out on the way to losing by an innings.

"That match crossed my mind this afternoon I must admit," Australia coach Tim Nielsen told reporters.

"It was probably a pretty similar sort of wicket, it swung around a little bit and last year we got on a roll and had everything go our way and we caught everything that went to hand. That time England were all out for 102. It was the same for us today."

"Having had that experience we have got to make sure we don`t just get rolled over tomorrow. We`ve got to be in the game tomorrow night."

Headingley is renowned to be a venue where strange things happen to the ball because of the overhead conditions and when Ponting and Strauss backed their batsmen, they were left to rue their decisions.

Pakistan fast bowler Umar Gul was surprised by Australia`s decision to bat first, which played into his team`s hands with their trio of fast bowlers, Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Aamer and Gul himself. They shared eight wickets.

"It looked like a batting wicket but there was some moisture because it has been raining," Gul said. "When the clouds are out the ball swings but when the sun is out the pitch becomes good for batsmen."

Sadly for Australia, their batsmen did not survive long enough to see the sun.

Bureau Report


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