Published on: Jul 17, 2023
Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting heaped massive praise on England’s fast bowler Mark Wood over his match-winning performance in the third Ashes 2023 Test at Headingley in Leeds. Sharing his views on the right-arm pacer, he described Wood as a bit like two former Aussie pacers – Mitchell Johnson and Brett Lee
Making a comeback to the Test team after overcoming fitness issues, Wood played the pivotal role in England’s much-needed win in Leeds. He ran through Australia’s lower order in the first innings to set up the hosts’ win. The pacer also claimed a couple of key scalps in the second innings and contributed crucial cameos in both innings.
Sharing his thoughts on Wood, Ponting said on the ICC Review, “Wood is a bit like him (Johnson) and a bit like Brett Lee in his prime I reckon as well. Bowling first change, bowling quickly, intimidating batsmen, getting a little bit of movement when it was there. He is just an absolute strike weapon.”
Ponting, however, admitted that playing three Tests in a row will be a major challenge for Wood, who has a history of fitness issues. The fast bowler showed some hints of struggle towards the end of the last Test. The Aussie legend opined, “I think the biggest challenge is getting him through the next couple of games. I know he said after Headingley that he got through I think three Test matches in a row in Australia in the last Ashes series and did it OK.”
“The challenge for him is going to be if he keeps his pace at that sort of mid-90 miles an hour because they are like those guys that you know he is not overly tall, he is quite skiddy and when they are not at their absolute top pace-wise they can be quite easy to face,” Ponting went on to add.
The Australian legend, however, had no hesitation in agreeing that Wood made the big difference in the third Test with his pace and accuracy. Ponting elaborated about the impact of the England fast bowler, “I mean someone that can run in and bowl at that pace but he gets movement with the ball as well. His seam presentation, the way he releases the ball is outstanding for someone that is running in and bowling as fast as he is.
“You look at the delivery that got (Usman) Khawaja, full just swinging back down the line at mid-90 miles an hour. If you have got someone like that you just have to play it, when they are physically fit and going, you have just got to keep playing them until they eventually run out of steam,” he added.
–By A Cricket Correspondent