Ricky Ponting: Australia’s method has stood up and worked against ‘Bazball’

Ricky Ponting: Australia’s method has stood up and worked against ‘Bazball’

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting believes England will be left questioning their ‘Bazball’ approach after Ben Stokes’ side lost an opening Ashes contest described by Nasser Hussain as “utterly absorbing”.

Pat Cummins led Australia to a remarkable two-wicket victory at Edgbaston, with an unbeaten 44 and match-winning stand of 55 alongside number 10 Nathan Lyon.

Australia’s triumph came following Stokes’ first-innings declaration on 393 for eight on the opening day after he and England head coach Brendon McCullum promised supporters entertainment.

“It was just a brilliant game and I was so privileged to be here to watch it,” Ponting told Sky Sports.

“The interesting thing coming out of it for me is going to be which team has got the most questions to answer, and I think England do.

“Is their style of play going to hold up in an Ashes series? Do they keep going, or do they declare at 393 on day one?

“By no means am I saying England’s methods are wrong. I have loved watching them play. But it goes to show that there is more than one way to skin a cat. This is a long game, and Australia’s method has stood up and worked.”

Australia successfully completed their second-highest chase in England, reaching a target of 281 that had seemed beyond them.

Nasser Hussain
Former England captain Nasser Hussain described the opening Ashes contest as “utterly absorbing” (John Walton/PA)

Former England captain Hussain, also speaking on Sky Sports, added: “It was utterly, utterly absorbing from the first ball which Zak Crawley creamed to the covers, to that last delivery.

“Pat Cummins was calm and cool when their country, and this country, was on the edge of our seats.

“When you lose, ‘Bazball’, the declaration and everything else gets questioned.

“But I applaud the players because this ground was sold out for five days, and everyone who came here today will want to come back for Test match cricket. And in this era, when Test match cricket is vulnerable, you do have to keep one eye on that.

“But obviously you want to win. You can’t hide behind that. We have beaten Australia in England since 2001 playing the old-fashioned way, so we didn’t need ‘Bazball’ to beat Australia then, but they have shown why they are the number one team in the world.”