Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting has opened up on Indian all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja's performance in the first Test match of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. According to Ponting, Jadeja's performance of taking 11 wickets upon his return to first-class cricket last month indicated that the Australian team was in for a difficult time. Ponting highlighted Jadeja's pace and line of delivery, particularly against right-handers, as a key factor in his success.
Ponting explained that Jadeja pitches the ball on the stumps and can cause both turn and straight deliveries, which he demonstrated in the dismissal of Australian batsman Steven Smith in the first Test match in Nagpur. Jadeja rattled the Australian batting lineup with his five-wicket haul in the first innings of the match. He then scored crucial 70-odd runs with the bat to help India post a mammoth total of 400 runs on the board. Jadeja returned in the third innings to take another two wickets to his name.
"I had seen his return to first-class cricket last week and he got some 11 wickets or something. As soon as I saw that I knew Aussies were in for a nightmare," Ponting said.
"Because of how he [Jadeja] bowls on those sort of wickets – the pace that he bowls, the line that he bowls to right-handers in particular, where he is pitching the ball on the stumps all the time, and one would turn and one will slide on, like we saw, with the dismissal of Steven Smith today. I mean they're two identical deliveries. One just happened to turn and the other one went straight on and went back through the gate and bowled him," Ponting added.
As far as the first Test is concerned, India won the match by innings and 132 runs. India started the game by dismissing the Australians out for 177 runs and then amassing a mammoth 400 runs to take a 223-run lead in the first innings. Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin played a crucial role with the ball as they picked eight wickets between them. Rohit Sharma scored a brilliant century to help India post the huge total. Jadeja and Axar Patel also contributed with the bat as they scored a half-century each.
The Australians then got bowled out for just 91 runs. It was their lowest Test score while playing in India. Ashwin picked up a five-wicket haul in the third and final innings to help rattle the Australian batting lineup. Apart from Steve Smith, none of the Aussie batsmen were able to negate the spin offered on the Nagpur pitch. Jadeja also pitched in by picking two wickets in the final innings. He was named the player of the match for his all-round performance. Thanks to the victory, India have now taken a 1-0 lead in the four-match contest.