Updated: January 20, 2021 1:30:54 pm
A “shocked” Ricky Ponting is struggling to comprehend how India’s “A team” overwhelmed Australia in the Test series in their own backyard.
Hit by a spate injuries, India competed without many a key players, yet downed Australia by three wickets in the series-deciding fourth Test at the Gabba, a month after the Adelaide debacle where they scored their lowest Test score of 36.
“I’m quite shocked that Australia weren’t quite good enough to win this series. The cold hard facts of it are pretty much that was the India A team that played this Test match and still won,” Ponting told cricket.com.au.
“Considering everything the Indian team has been through in the last five or six weeks, with the captain leaving, all the injuries they’ve had, they’ve been through 20 players, (Australia) have been at full-strength, bar Davey (Warner) missing early on, so it’s really hard to comprehend.
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“It’s probably not even (India’s) second-picked team because you think of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ishant Sharma and those guys who didn’t even make it out here. Rohit Sharma turns up for the last two Test matches only.”
Ponting said India won all the key moments throughout the series and that was the difference between the two sides.
“They’ve played really good, tough, hard Test match cricket day-in and day-out. India have won all the big moments in every Test match and Australia have fallen short. That’s been the difference between the two teams.”
“They (India) have done it really well and they thoroughly deserve to win the series … because (of) how resilient they’ve been.”
The legendary batsman, who coached Delhi Capitals in the last IPL in the UAE, said all the setbacks India had to deal with showed the depth and the talent the country has.
“Washington Sundar looked like he had played 50 Test matches through the course of this game and never looked out of place,” Ponting said.
“Shardul Thakur was the same in his second Test match, picked up seven wickets and scored 60-odd handy runs in the first innings.
“I’ve been around the IPL a long time so I know the talent that they do have in India, but when you’ve got to step up on a big stage in a Test match against Australia it’s a different story.”
He said Australia should be concerned that a depleted Indian team was good enough to beat them.
“We gave Australia the benefit of doubt the last time India were here because Warner and (Steve) Smith weren’t there. But this time, Australia’s at full strength and India are on the bones of their squad, they’re playing net bowlers in Test matches and they’re still winning. That’s the worry for Australia.
“We’re probably digging deeper than even an Indian A team and they’ve still been good enough to win two Test matches here in Australia, and good enough to win one in Brisbane, which just doesn’t happen,” Ponting said.
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