ANI Photo | “He was the standard of their fast bowlers”: Ponting lauds England bowler Josh Tongue

Australia’s former captain Ricky Ponting suggested the hosts England must keep Josh Tongue in the playing XI of the remaining Ashes series as they try to wipe out 0-2 series deficit.
After the conjecture and controversy from Lord’s there is little time for both sides to prepare as they travel north to Leeds for day one on Thursday, with Australia edging towards their first away Ashes series win since 2001.
Tongue claimed five wickets across the second Test match after being named Moeen Ali’s replacement, removing both Australia openers David Warner and Usman Khawaja in the first innings, and Steve Smith twice.
“From what I saw last week, I thought he was the standard of their fast bowlers,” the Australian legend told on the latest episode of The ICC Review.
“(Stuart) Broad got the wickets in the second innings, but Tongue got early breakthroughs. Like Smith, Tongue also removed a resurgent Warner a second time in the match, having attacked the stumps through bowled and lbw dismissals against the left-hander. They were both very similar dismissals from around the wicket with the ball coming back in. I think that is something that they need to consider as well,” Ponting said.
England lamented the lack of a cutting edge of spin during the second Test after Moeen broke down with a spinning finger injury at Edgbaston.
Forced to resort to the part-time off-breaks of Joe Root at Lord’s, England may re-include Moeen if deemed fit at Headingley with 18-year-old leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed dropping out of the squad.
While Ponting admits questions still linger around Moeen’s fitness and if a spinner should come in, Ponting believes it should be Anderson to make way.
“He (Anderson) looked like the most disappointing bowler for England so far, What you expect from James Anderson is when he’s got that new ball in his hand, he’s taking early wickets, he’s moving the ball, and he’s not going for any runs. We haven’t seen that in the series so far, ” Ponting said.
“And that’s not a direct criticism of James Anderson. He’s been one of the all-time greats of the game, his longevity and his wicket-taking ability, but if I was looking at the bowlers I saw last week, I think he’s the one that’s looked to have the least amount of penetration,” he said.
“(Ollie) Robinson’s had less penetration, but he’s probably actually bowled a bit better. He’s been in control of the game more than Anderson has. They’ve still got a few questions there with Moeen. Do they risk going into the game again and having the same (injury) happen?
“I doubt that he would have bowled enough between the end of Edgbaston and the start of Headingley for them to be 100 percent convinced that he’s going to be physically right to bowl a lot of overs in a Test match. It could get down to the stage where they’re bowling last at Headingley and they might need someone like him to bowl 25 or 30 overs in an innings,” he added.
Even if England does not return to spin, Ponting still believes Anderson’s selection is still far from guaranteed.
A fit Mark Wood waits in the wings ready to up the pace against the Aussies, and Ponting believes England could persist with a four-pronged fast bowling attack bolstered by extra pace.
“I think the other one that they’ll have to think about is Mark Wood. If Mark Wood is fit they need that bit of firepower and penetration, especially knowing now that they need to win the last three Test matches,” Ponting added.
“I think it’ll probably come down to Robinson or Anderson, I think for that third seam bowler spot at Headingley. They’ll definitely want to bring a spinner back. So I think Tongue stays in and one of Robinson and Anderson misses. They’ve got a couple of big, really big calls to make,” the former Australian skipper concluded. (ANI)

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