Ashes: Ponting expects to face Harmison at Lord's

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Australia captain Ricky Ponting believes England will recall fast bowler Stephen Harmison for the second Ashes Test starting from Thursday at Lord's.

Updated: July 15, 2009 16:18 IST
  • Total Shares


Australia captain Ricky Ponting believes England will recall fast bowler Stephen Harmison for the second Ashes Test here at Lord's.

The Durham quick has not played for England since being dropped in the Caribbean earlier this year and missed last week's drawn Ashes opener in Cardiff where Australia piled up a huge 674 for six declared.

Harmison has ostensibly been included as cover for Andrew Flintoff, who is struggling with a knee injury.

But Ponting, who still bears the scar of being hit on the cheek by a Harmison bouncer which drew blood during the first Ashes Test at Lord's in 2005, said he expected both fast bowlers to play come Thursday's start if fit.

"I reckon Harmison will play, yes," Ponting told reporters at Lord's on Tuesday. "I think he will play even if Flintoff is fit, they'll play them both if they can.

"I think these conditions will suit him more than what the ones down at Cardiff would have done. I had the feeling he was very close to selection down there," Ponting added.

He explained Harmison would add a "bit of hostility" to England's attack, saying: "Being as tall as he is, and the sort of bang it into the wicket bowler he is, you don't get too many pitched up.

He's a bit of a Curtly Ambrose type bowler in that regard. So when you get conditions like this where it will probably bounce a little bit more his style of bowling becomes pretty difficult."

Harmison took six wickets against Australia the week before the first Test playing for the England Lions at Worcester, where he twice dismissed unorthodox opener Phillip Hughes with short deliveries.

"There was a lot made of how he bowled in Worcester, and some people felt he should have been picked," Ponting said. "But I think our guys overall did a reasonable job and played him pretty well."

As for the scar on his face, Ponting said: "I haven't noticed it for five years. I guess they are the battle scars you end up with after playing a sport like this for as long as I have. I've got a few others as well."

This match is being played on the same pitch as in 2005, where Australia were bowled out for 190 on the first day only to have England seven wickets down before stumps. Australia eventually won by 239 runs only to lose the series 2-1.

"It was an amazing day's Test cricket," Ponting recalled. "Hopefully, if we get the chance to bat first again it will be a slightly different result (in terms of Australia's first innnings).

Australia haven't lost a Test at Lord's since 1934. "There is a great feel around the place, and all the history, and the very proud record that Australia have had here for so long makes you feel good about the place when you arrive," Ponting said.

"Everyone has been looking forward to playing here, and what it means to a lot of our younger guys in particular to play here.

"I think this is the first time at the ground for Nathan Hauritz and Peter Siddle. I had to show Sids the way round (in the pavilion and on to the field), he kept getting lost - 'out through that door, mate, through that Long Room there' - It's very exciting for them."

Ponting is one of cricket's all-time great batsmen yet he has never made a Test century at Lord's, where his highest score is 42.

But he looked in prime form while making 150 in Cardiff, where England only salvaged a draw thanks to a last-wicket stand between tailenders James Anderson and Monty Panesar.

Asked what it would mean to see his name on the Lord's honours board, the 34-year-old Ponting said: "It would be nice. I've played two Tests here and not done very well at all.

"I've made a one-day hundred here on the last tour, which was a great feeling. I've just got to carry on from last week. It's up to me to lead the way with the bat again when I get the chance."

After being denied victory by just one wicket in Cardiff, Ponting indicated Australia would pick the same team.

"We haven't finalised our XI yet but there weren't too many weaknesses in what we did last week so it would be pretty hard to make too many changes."

For the latest Cricket news , Score, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and get the NDTV Cricket app for Android or iOS

  • Cricket

Leave a comment