Crazy day in Sydney for Ricky Ponting

So much for my prediction that Pakistan have no chance of winning the Sydney test match. A crazy day starting with a rain delay has again seen Australia collapse, this time to 127 all out.

Ponting was interviewed on the pitch pre toss and was saying how Australia are starting to move on and grow as a side now, that the Melbourne 1st test is the level of performance he now expects from his side. He referred back to the batting collapses that cost his side the 2009 Ashes and the home series against South Africa last year, stating that he expects them to now become a thing of the past.

How wrong could he have called it after that collapse? As wrong as he called the decision to bat, thats how wrong.

Ricky Ponting seems to still be haunted by that Edgbaston test match from 2005. It looked fairly obvious to anyone watching that the winner of the toss had to bowl first in those conditions. Ponting isn’t stupid and must have known this, his decisions at the toss must still be influenced by the events of that day.

Was Ponting’s decision based on bravado, that Pakistan where that bad at the MCG it didn’t matter whether Australia batted first or second, that they would still win? They still might in fairness.

Or was it another bad call from the skipper? Like the decision to leave Nathan Hauritz out at the Oval last summer. In the past Australia had that good a side that a captain could get away with errors of judgement as his side would do the business no matter what. Ricky Ponting isn’t so lucky at the moment.

Steve Waugh famously once said that it didn’t matter who batted first, as both sides have to do both and the best side would be victorious. With respect to Steve Waugh, with the team he had at his disposal it didn’t matter.

Ricky Ponting got it badly wrong twice yesterday. Firstly with his assertion of where his team is, or where he wants them to be in their development. And second, and worst of all for me, his blinkered decision at the toss.

Australia V Pakistan – 2nd Test Betting

Best odds and betting preview for 2nd test

Australia are 8/11 with Boylesports
The Draw is 11/4 with Bet365 and Ladbrokes
Pakistan are 5/1 with VC Bet, William Hill, 888Sport and Blue Square

The test is live on Sky Sports 1 from 11.25pm (UK time).

Australia’s odds of 8/11 with Boylesports is the stand out price as most of the other bookies have them much shorter, mainly at 4/7 or 8/13.

Pakistan are without Mohammad Aamer, their best bowler by a mile in the 1st test. They do have Danish Kaneria and Umar Gul available for selection again, so that should soften the blow.

The Aussies have a concern over Simon Katich and have Phil Hughes standing by to deputise for him, can’t see that making much difference to Australia’s chances of winning though.

Mitchell Johnson is now looking like he has found his niche in the bowling department, coming on first change, not a bad option for Ponting to keep up his sleeve. Doug Bollinger has settled into the side well and has looked more than at home so far this season.

Taking into account Pakistan’s awful catching in the 1st test (although it can surely only improve here), they will have to (in theory) get something like 30 wickets to bowl Australia out twice. I can’t see them getting near that, especially now Aamer is out. So I’m ruling out a Pakistan win.

Whether or not the 8/11 (for Australia) is great value I’m not so sure, will probably watch to start with, and maybe get on the Aussies if they drift in the betting to around the Evens mark.