Shane Warne has slammed Ricky Ponting’s decision to bowl first in the second Test at Edgbaston during the 2005 Ashes series, calling it ‘the worst decision made by a captain I played under’.
The legendary Australian spinner revealed his frustrations in his book No Spin, where he opened up about the incident in the 2005 series – what is now regarded as one of the best Ashes series of all time.
Ponting won the toss and elected to bowl first in the second Test in Edgbaston, in a match that saw England win by two runs and bring the sides level at 1-1. England ended up winning the five-match series 2-1 after the teams drew the third and fifth Tests.
‘Ricky’s decision was a shocker, presumably thinking that one good morning with the ball would finish England off,’ Warne wrote as quoted on Espncricinfo.
‘He didn’t rate the English batting and it cost him, and us. Here is the truth. Forget anything else you’ve heard or read. Ricky relied on John Buchanan’s stats, which indicated that the bowl-first, bat-last tactic at Edgbaston won more games than it lost. He looked back at the filthy weather of the previous few days, not forward, and made an assumption about the pitch having moisture in it. Wrong!
‘It was a belter, an absolute road, which was to spin later in the game. He ignored [Glenn] McGrath’s injury because arrogance refused to let him believe England could play. The entire series was defined right there, at Edgbaston, when Ricky was blind to the cricketing facts in front of him. England were thrown a huge bone and fed from it for the rest of the series.
‘I rate it as the worst decision made by a captain I played under, just topping the charts ahead of Steve Waugh when he made India follow on [in Kolkata in 2001], because it was based on arrogance about the opposition and our own supposed invincibility, not the cricketing facts.’
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