Ricky Ponting names possible surprise omission for Ashes Headingley Test
With limited time for preparation after the storm of speculation and controversy at Lord's, both teams are heading to Leeds for the first day on Thursday with Australia inching closer to their first away Ashes series victory since 2001.
Looking ahead to the potential XIs for the third Ashes Test, Ricky Ponting emphasises the importance of retaining Josh Tongue over Jimmy Anderson in order to overturn the hosts' 2-0 series deficit.
With limited time for preparation after the storm of speculation and controversy at Lord's, both teams are heading to Leeds for the first day on Thursday with Australia inching closer to their first away Ashes series victory since 2001. Considering the demanding schedule and the need for improvement, Ponting believes that Tongue should be retained, leading to further reshuffling in the host's lineup.
Having stepped in as a replacement for Moeen Ali, Tongue made a significant impact in the second Test, taking five wickets. He dismissed both Australian openers, David Warner and Usman Khawaja, in the first innings as well as Steve Smith on two occasions.
The Australian legend told Sanjana Ganesan on the latest episode of The ICC Review, “From what I saw last week, I thought he was the standard of their fast bowlers. (Stuart) Broad got the wickets in the second innings, but Tongue got early breakthroughs.”
England needs to make a few tough calls in their playing XI ahead of the Headingley Test
In addition to dismissing Warner for a second time, Tongue showcased his skills by bowling and achieving lbw dismissals against the resurgent left-hander. According to Ponting, the 25-year-old's performance justifies his place in the team.
“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 added.
England faced difficulties in the second Test due to the absence of a potent spin option after Moeen suffered a finger injury at Edgbaston. Resorting to Joe Root's part-time off-breaks at Lord's, England might reintroduce Moeen if he is deemed fit at Headingley, which could result in 18-year-old leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed being dropped from the squad.