Sydney: Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting has invited severe criticism for opting to bat on a green Sydney Cricket Ground pitch on the first day of the second Test against Pakistan.
"The question will be did Ricky do the right thing? In hindsight, I think he made an error of judgment,''said former Test opener Michael Slater.
An incredulous former Australian fast bowler and ex-Pakistan coach Geoff Lawson said he was amazed at Ponting"s decision to bat, while former Test leg-spinner Kerry O''Keeffe said he hadn't seen an SCG pitch so green in 20 years.
"He batted first on this? It's a pitch with a considerable greenish tinge to it and he batted first?''said a bemused Lawson.
"Pakistan would be pretty happy with losing the toss,''he added.
Mike Hussey, who offered some middle-order resistance, last night said it proved Ponting was unlikely to bowl first on any pitch in the world.
Even with Australia's fast bowlers gazing wistfully at the pitch in the background, Ponting insisted his teammates were happy with his decision to bat.
"It is always my preference to bat and the guys inside are happy with that decision as well. The bowlers will be disappointed I won the toss and batted, they would have liked to have got out here and had a crack on this sort of wicket,''Ponting said after winning the toss.
Pakistan skipper Mohammad Yousuf said he would have bowled, while fans hit Internet sites to question Ponting's decision.
According to a report in the PerthNow newspaper, “It wasn"t even a toss-up - the general consensus was that Australian captain Ricky Ponting should have given his bowlers first crack on an SCG green top yesterday when he won the toss."
“There is no hiding the fact Ponting made a major blooper and exposed his batsmen to the humiliation of being bowled out for 127 as Pakistan stormed back into the series. It was Australia''''s lowest score on home soil in 13 years as Pakistani quick Mohammad Asif snared a career-best 6-41," the paper further goes on to say.
The paper opines that Ponting was clearly haunted by ghosts from the last time he won the toss and bowled first - the famous Edgbaston Test which swung the 2005 Ashes for England.