Australia’s assistant coach Ricky Ponting expects India to select an extra fast bowler on Sunday to exploit the holders’ vulnerability to short-pitched deliveries seen in their scrappy win over the West Indies in the World Cup.
The Caribbean pace battery terrorised Australia’s top order at Trent Bridge, reducing them to 38-4 in the eighth over, with Oshane Thomas hitting Usman Khawaja on the helmet in an illustration of the top order’s obvious discomfort.
Steve Smith added 72 and Nathan Coulter-Nile hit 92 to help Australia build a respectable score, though the side still collapsed for 288 with one over left of their full quota.
India preferred Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s swing to Mohammed Shami’s pace against South Africa, but they might sacrifice one of their two frontline spinners to accommodate a paceman at the Oval, Ponting suggested.
“(Jasprit) Bumrah we know is a very good new ball bowler and I’m sure he’ll mix it up and bowl some short stuff and some full stuff,” Ponting told cricket.com.au referring to the currently top-ranked ODI bowler.
“Bhuvneshwar will probably not worry you too much with his pace or his bouncers. Hardik (Pandya) can maybe rush you a little bit, so maybe they have a decision to make on the overall make up of their side.
“Do they maybe go with only the one spinner and use (all-rounder) Kedar Jadhav as a second spinner and play another fast bowler?
“We’ll worry about that in the next couple of days and make sure all the boys are prepared.”
A three-time World Cup winner himself, Ponting said he would discuss the matter with Khawaja and Glenn Maxwell, who responded to one short delivery with an unusual attempt to pull the ball, only to lose his wicket.
“Usman got hit again ... so he’s had a few hits in the last few weeks. I haven’t spoken to him (to see) if he’s rattled, but that’s part and parcel of top order batting against brand new balls...
“You’ve got to find a way to cope and a way to get through hostile spells knowing that it’s not going to last forever,” Ponting said.
“It’s a bit of an uncharacteristic shot from (Maxwell) as well. He’s not a natural hooker and puller of the ball anyway,” said Ponting.
“It’s just a little bit of a blip on the radar that we’ll have a chat about and make sure we’re prepared for the next game.”
Ponting warns Australia of bouncers at Oval against India