Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting reckons Australia's second innings with the bat will determine the outcome of the third Test. Ponting believes the pitch will provide enough assistance for the bowlers to defend a total in the fourth innings if the hosts manage to set a tricky total for the visitors.
Opting to bat first after winning the toss, Australia finished with a slightly below par total after being bundled out for 338 in the first innings. On the batsman-friendly surface of the SCG, the average first innings total in the last 10 years has been 395.
However, Ricky Ponting told cricket.com.au that the home side can still come back into the game even if they find themselves behind after India’s first innings.
“Everything is really going to hinge on how Australia bats in their second innings of this game. Even if they are behind on first innings, if they're to bat really well and give India some sort of tricky little chase, this wicket, to me, looks like it's going to have plenty to offer the bowlers late in the game,” said Ricky Ponting.
After a horror show with the bat in the first two Tests, star batsman Steve Smith (131) and Marnus Labuschagne (91) found touch in the first innings and enabled Australia to post 338 on the board.
“Tomorrow will tell a really big story in the game” – Ricky Ponting
Ricky Ponting added that Day 3 will be crucial in the context of the game for both sides. The former right-hander feels if Australia can bowl out India without a substantial lead, the hosts will find themselves back in the game.
“Tomorrow will tell a really big story in the game. If India can take a little lead into the second innings then they'll be in front but if Australia can knock them over for under 350 or somewhere around Australia's score, I think Australia are going to be in the box seat," Ricky Ponting stated.Published 09 Jan 2021, 08:15 IST