The first Ashes Test between Australia and England is off to a flier, with every single day of the Edgbaston encounter unfolding new incidents to talk about. England skipper Ben Stokes‘ ‘umbrella-like’ field to pile the pressure on Australia batter Usman Khawaja became a huge talking-point on social media. As fans and multiple former cricketers hailed Stokes’ captaincy, Australia great Ricky Ponting also gave a million-dollar reaction to Stokes’ tactical decision, admitted that he had never seen anything like that before.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a field like that in Test cricket before. There was just an umbrella of fielders around in front of the batsman’s face. And it was all about bowling a couple of slower balls and being able to bowl a yorker. And sure enough, Khawaja used his feet, gave himself some room, gave up his stumps, and the yorker knocked his off stump out of the ground,” Ponting told the ICC.
“It’s fantastic stuff. It’s really refreshing for the Test game to see a team play this way and a captain happy to try everything he possibly can.”
Further lauding Stokes’ captaincy, Ponting lauded the England skipper’s willingness to explore all options of picking up a wicket, pressing every little opportunity he senses to unnerve the batter.
“It’s hard to keep up with them all, he’s making a change almost every ball, which is great, it’s proactive captaincy. He’s always trying to move the game forward, he’s looking at any little way that he possibly can to pick up a wicket and change the momentum of the game,” Ponting said.
What a ball from Robinson, Fantastic by Stokes as a captain.
End of an incredible knock from Khawaja. pic.twitter.com/8Bz5ejFAvj
— Johns. (@CricCrazyJohns) June 18, 2023
“With Khawaja’s innings, I’d hate to try and count how many times he changed the field for him and how many bowling changes and tactical changes he made to try and get Khawaja out – and then it finally worked,” the ex-Australia captain said.
Australia were bowled out for 386 while chasing England’s first innings score of 393. By the end of Day 3, Australia had picked up two English wickets, with the score reading 28/2 at the end of 10.3 overs.
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