Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting has opened up on Hardik Pandya's wilderness from the Test side, given India's struggle for balance in overseas Test matches. The Tasmanian revealed that Pandya felt he wouldn't be doing justice to other players by making himself available for Test cricket and wants to earn his spot.
Pandya, whose last of 11 Tests came in September 2018 against England, declined to return to the format in March this year. The seam-bowling all-rounder conceded that he doesn't deserve a spot in the side, given his contribution has been nil in the team's path to the summit clash of the World Test Championship (WTC) final.
At commentary during the final session of play, former England captain Nasser Hussain observed India's uncertainty were about their eleven, unlike Australia. While Hussain thinks Axar Patel and Ravindra Jadeja are well suited for home conditions, he feels India need a seam-bowling all-rounder like Pandya for overseas.
"At the toss this morning, it was so apparent that India were not sure about their side and Australia were crystal clear and Cameron Green has a lot to do with that. He just balances the side away from home in England. He is the sort of cricketer that India would have loved to have. Of course, Shardul Thakur is a seam-bowling all-rounder of kinds. In India, you've got Jadeja, Ashwin and Axar Patel. They are complete all-rounders in Indian conditions but what about a seam-bowling all-rounder when you go overseas? Where is Hardik Pandya?"
Ponting responded by answering:
"That's the one line that was mentioned in commentary earlier today. He made it clear that he feels his body won't get through the rigours of Test cricket. He was thrown up in a game like this what do you think about playing in a game like this, just a one-off Test just to help the balance of the side? And his reply apparently was that he didn't feel it was fair on everyone else who have been through this journey in the last couple of years leading into this game."
Steve Smith and Travis Head put Australia ahead after day one:
Meanwhile, Australia held a commanding position after day one of the WTC final at the Kennington Oval. After losing the toss, Australia lost their openers Usman Khawaja and David Warner in the first session, but the latter gave his side the required momentum. Mohammed Shami nipped out Marnus Labuschagne immediately after lunch to put Australia in a spot of bother.
However, Steve Smith and Travis Head made hay, with the latter reaching three figures in 106 balls. He stayed unbeaten at 146, while Smith is still batting at 95, propelling Australia to 327-3 at Stumps.