Australian veteran Matthew Wade has come under fire after a strange innings exposed Cameron Green, who was out for a duck at the SCG on Friday.
Wade arrived at the crease with Australia cruising at 3-206 and his goal was simple – hold on for 9.1 overs, then soften the new ball to make the next task easier.
It was something Wade had done well as an opener in Adelaide and Melbourne, with innings lasting 53 deliveries, 51, 137 and 39.
But as the No.5 batsman in the third Test at the SCG he was out for 13 after only 16 balls, caught at mid-on off the bowling of Ravindra Jadeja.
“Matthew Wade needs to have a lot more game awareness as far as I’m concerned,” former Australian captain Ricky Ponting said on Channel 7.
“In a situation like that – Matthew Wade has been opening in the last couple of Test matches, so the new ball is not going to faze him.
“But what he’s done by getting out is expose Cameron Green to the new ball, a guy in his third Test, and for mine that is just not thinking enough about the situation of the game.
“We talk about game awareness, understanding what’s happening in the game. There was a phase there that Matthew Wade had to make sure he was there when the new ball came out.”
The wicket brought Green to the crease with little time to settle before Indian paceman Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj were let loose with the hard Kookaburra.
Seeing off his first few overs the 21-year-old looked to have avoided disaster – until Bumrah struck him on the pads and reduced Australia to 5-249 at lunch.
“Cameron Green went for a duck,” Ponting said.
“Matthew Wade will be really disappointed, as will his teammates and his coach. He threw it away after a great start.”
The Australian selectors had opted to retain Wade and drop Travis Head from the XI after the latter’s underwhelming dismissals to begin the series.
Wade, however, failed to back up the show of faith in his abilities as a middle-order batsman.
“It’s not really team batting,” ex-opener Chris Rogers said on SEN radio.
“Three overs away from the new ball, a guy (Green) coming in playing his third Test match next up. It’s probably on you a little bit to just see if you can get there and take the sting out of the second new ball a little bit.”
Green had made 11, 12 and 45 in the first two Tests of the series after top-order collapses brought him to the crease far earlier than expected.