'Make it as unachievable as possible' - Ricky Ponting's stern advice to Australian players for remainder of Lord's Test
Australia are in pole position to take a 2-0 lead in the ongoing Ashes series they have got a healthy lead over England
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After winning the first Test at Edgbaston by the finest of margins, Australia would have expected a strong reply from the hosts. However, on Day 3, Ben Stokes' men capitulated under pressure, losing their last six wickets for 47 runs, and handing Australia a healthy 91-run lead.
David Warner and Usman Khawaja stretched the lead with a 63-run partnership before the former got out to Josh Tongue. Marnus Labuschagne and Khawaja forged a 60-run partnership before the right-hander was dismissed by James Anderson. When Stumps were called, Khawaja and Steve Smith were batting on an unbeaten 58 and six, respectively, with Australia leading by 221 runs.
With two days left in the game, and already a handsome lead on the board, the World Test Champions can look to bat England out of the game on Day 4. That is exactly how former Australian captain Ricky Ponting wants Pat Cummins and Co. to play. England, under Ben Stokes, have always prioritized winning matches ahead of drawing. Therefore, Ponting wants the visitors to bat long and set an improbable target for their opponents.
“Everything we hear from England is, that they are not going to be happy with a draw. They're going to do everything to try and win the game. Well, If I'm Australia, I'm batting as long as I can and setting the most ridiculous total. They actually said they will try to win. I will make it as unachievable as possible, let them go as hard as they can,” Ponting said on Sky Sports.
What is the highest total successfully chased in fourth innings at Lord's?
West Indies, in 1984, chased down 342 runs in the fourth innings against England. The tourists got 344/1 in just 66.1 overs as Gordon Greenidge scored a spectacular 214 on the final day. England's highest fourth-innings chase at Lord's came in 2004 when they scored 282/3 against New Zealand in 87 overs.
Last year, England chased down 277 in 78.5 overs against New Zealand with five wickets to spare. The home side will have to dismiss Australia as soon as possible because the lead is already looking promising for the Pat Cummins-led side.