(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Published: Wed 7 Jun 2023, 6:32 PM
Last updated: Wed 7 Jun 2023, 9:40 PM
India may have made a reasonably good start after opting to bowl with a four-pronged pace attack in the first session of the World Test Championship final against Australia, but former Australian captain Ricky Ponting believes Rohit Sharma missed a trick by not playing Ravichandran Ashwin.
India decided to go in with Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Shardul Thakur and Ravindra Jadeja, the lone spinner.
But the dryness underneath the green wicket would have brought Ashwin into the game if the Indian think tank had picked the veteran off-spinner, according to Ponting.
"Now that they've won the toss and bowled, they want to do some damage with this new ball," Ponting told Channel Seven.
"Because I think as this game goes on, it will turn and they would've wanted Ashwin to spin this ball away from the Australian left-handers, and he's not there."
Australia has four left-handers in its batting line-up, Usman Khawaja, David Warner, Travis Head and Alex Carey.
Commentator and former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar agreed with Ponting.
"It seems like they're convinced this pitch is very seam-friendly, because Ashwin of late in overseas matches has been pretty good," Manjrekar told ESPNcricinfo.
"There's clearly a green look to it (pitch) but the soil underneath looked white to suggest there's some dryness as well, and The Oval historically has never been a seaming pitch."
Former Australia player Brad Haddin felt Ashwin could have made a big difference at the back end of this Test match.
"It (Ashwin) would've been the first name I would've looked at (on the team sheet) if I was one of the (opposition's) left-handers," he said.
"You want a player, especially in a big event like this, who walks towards the fire. And Ashwin's definitely one of those guys against Australia.
"He loves playing against them, gets into the contest. I know he gets under the skin of the Australian batsmen. One of the big successes India have had over Australia has been due to Ashwin's presence. They'll miss him out there and the pressure is on four quicks to put pressure on that middle order."
Australia was 73 for two at lunch with Shardul and Siraj picking the two wickets.