Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has said he was surprised by Tim Paine's decision to bowl in the fifth and final Ashes Test against England, adding that the result of the match will determine whether it was the right call.
"I never try to make too much of it until the game is over because really that's where it will be the right decision or the wrong decision. It's always dependent on the result of the game," Ponting told cricket.com.au.
Put in to bat by Australia on Thursday at the Kia Oval, England were pegged back from a strong position at 103-1 after lunch as all-rounder Mitchell Marsh ran through the middle order to leave the hosts reeling at 271/8 at stumps on Day 1.
"I'm sure (Paine) is probably breathing a little bit easier than he was just after lunch when England were going well," said Ponting.
"Root and Burns had put on nearly an 80-run partnership and the wicket had flattened out. Gutsy call but they're the sort of things you have to do as captain and make those big calls."
Ponting, who is serving as Australia assistant coach, also narrated what went on with the team after Paine won the toss as the development took him in utter surprise.
"I was standing with a couple of the Aussie boys on the side of the wicket when (match referee Javagal Srinath) looked over and said 'Tim, you've won the toss'," Ponting recalled.
"I then said to the boys 'we're batting' and then Painey went to the mic and said 'we'll have a bowl'. I thought 'that's interesting'," he added.
At stumps, Jos Buttler and Jack Leach were batting on 64 and 10 respectively.