Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has criticised Joe Root, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler for the nature of their dismissals in England ‘s woeful batting collapse in the third Ashes Test.
After getting put into bat on day one in Melbourne, England were bowled out for just 185 to leave their hopes of mounting an unlikely fightback in the series hanging by a thread.
Root had looked serene on his way to 50, but was out caught behind after chasing a ball that he should have left.
Stokes had battled hard for his 25 before bizarrely spooning a catch to point, while Buttler recklessly charged at Nathan Lyon and was comfortably caught at deep midwicket for three.
Speaking to cricket.com.au, Ponting laid into the trio over their dismissals, saying: “For three of your more senior players, the players that they needed to stand up on the back of what we believe were some pretty stern discussions after the Adelaide game.
“If your leaders are not going to do it, then you can’t expect the younger guys to stand up and get the job done.
“The young guys are going to learn from the senior players and when the senior players are setting examples like that, you can understand why some of the younger guys are making mistakes as well.”
Ponting described the Root wicket as “very similar to some of his other dismissals in this series”, stating: “He can probably get away with playing shots like that in England where there’s not as much bounce.
“But with the extra bounce they’ve had in Brisbane, Adelaide and certainly here at the MCG day one, you just can’t be wafting and pushing the bat at balls a long way away from your body off front or back foot. He’s done it three or four times in this series now.”
Ponting then labelled Stokes’ dismissal “really strange” and claimed that Australia’s field placement had left him “scared”.
“Stokes’ seemed like a really strange shot,” he added. “I think he was scared of the field placement to be honest.
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“They had a deep backward square in place and a short ball at the body that, instead of playing a pull shot which is an instinctive shot for him, he tried to go the other way and ramp one up over the slip cordon, which he’d tried four or five overs earlier and played and missed.”
Ponting saved his most stinging criticism for Buttler, whose dismissal was described as a “sackable offence” by Allan Border and “kamikaze batting” by Chris Rogers.
Ponting said: “Jos Buttler, coming off how hard he fought last week in Adelaide, to come out and do that two minutes before the tea break is inexcusable”.