After Smith’s failures in the first two Tests, Ricky Ponting has stated that Australia need their ace batsman to stand up against the visitors’ strong bowling attack. However, at the same time, Ponting called for Burns’ exit if either of David Warner or Will Pucovski is deemed fit for Sydney.
Going into the Test series, it was widely expected that Steve Smith would continue his merry run in the longest format and rack up runs as usual against the Indian bowling attack after missing out on the previous series against India. However, Smith has suffered one of the leanest patches in his career, with a string of poor scores against the visitors in the ongoing Test series.
In the second innings of the ongoing Test at the ‘G, the right-hander was bowled off his legs, missing the delivery from Jasprit Bumrah to walk off with his lowest aggregate in a Test at the ‘G. Former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting, who was on commentary duties for the game, stated that the Kangaroos need Smith to stand up and perform against India’s strong bowling attack.
"He's (Smith) not having much go his way at the moment," Ponting told cricket.com.au.
"I think he would have liked to have his time over with his first-inning dismissal here, he would have played that differently. But he's one of the all-time greats of the game – everyone is allowed to have a few bad games here and there. The one thing I do know is that Australia need Steven Smith to stand up, especially against this bowling attack India have,” he added.
While Smith’s confidence was evidently visible, Joe Burns walked into the Test series on the verge of being axed from the playing XI. However, injuries to the incumbent opener David Warner alongside a concussion which ruled out challenger, Will Pucovski, Australia had to pair the underperforming Burns alongside Matthew Wade against one of the strongest bowling attacks in the world.
"The ball that (Burns) got was an exceptional delivery but if you look at that there are some technical issues he's going to have to work through and I'm sure he's continuing to work on," Ponting said.
"Just reading the tea leaves and seeing what I'm seeing it looks like Warner is going to be fit. The amount of work I've seen him do the last couple of days suggest he's on track. If he is fit, the way that Wade is batting compared to the way Burns is batting, unfortunately I think it will have to be Burns that goes out,” he concluded.