'Ball-Change Controversy' Strikes Ashes, Ricky Ponting Demands Investigation
Australia great Ricky Ponting demanded an 'investigation' over the ball-change episode on Day 5 of the 5th Ashes Test at the Oval.
The Ashes 2023 series was truly a spectacle, with both Australia and England giving their all. While the series witnessed breath-taking cricketing action, it also saw some controversial moments. For the most part of the series, the Jonny Bairstow dismissal remained the biggest-talking point. However, after the conclusion of the 5th Test at the Oval, a controversy has erupted over England's ball-change tactic on the final day of the match. In fact, Australian batter Usman Khawaja and former captain Ricky Ponting have come out saying they weren't happy with the replacement ball used by Ben Stokes' men.
After the conclusion of the match, Ponting expressed his frustration as the suggested that the replacement ball used in the 37th over wasn't a match for the ball that was being replaced.
"The biggest concern I have is the big discrepancy in the condition of the ball that was chosen to replace. There's no way in the world you can even look at those two balls there and say in any way are they comparable. If you are going to change the ball, you want to make sure that you get it right, so it is as close as you possibly can to the one that you're changing it from. Now if you have a look in that box, there weren't too many older-condition balls in there. There were some older ones that were picked up, the umpires looked at that and threw them back," Ponting said on Sky Sports.
"There's no way in the world you can look at those two balls there and say in any way that they're comparable"— Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket) July 31, 2023
Ricky Ponting is NOT happy with that 'new' ball pic.twitter.com/maDFpv8RhM
The manner in which the replacement ball swung left a bitter taste in the mouths of Australian players and Ponting. The former Australia skipper feels the ball that was replaced would not have moved as much as the new ball did. Ponting even asked for the matter to be investigated.
"The conditions were better for bowling this morning. But what I saw last night, that ball there, I'll put my hand up and say I've got absolutely no doubt at all that that ball would not have done anywhere near as much as what that one did this morning. Double the amount of movement this morning from yesterday afternoon, seam movement and swing. I think it's a huge blunder that needs to be investigated.
"That is a huge moment in this game, potentially a huge moment in the Test match, and something I think actually has to be investigated... whether there was the right condition of balls in the box, or the umpires have just picked one out of there that they think will be okay to use," Ponting asserted.
After Australia's defeat, Usman Khawaja said that the manner in which the replacement ball struck his bat, the other ball had created such an impact. Khawaja even informed the umpire Kumar Dharmasena about the same but the conversation was of no help.
"We started off really well. The big thing was that ball. As soon as they changed that ball, the first over they changed that ball. I knew straight away this ball was very different. I went straight up to Kumar and said 'how old is this ball you've given them because it feels like it's about eight overs old.' You could see the writing on both sides and it hit my bat so hard.
"I've opened in every single innings this Ashes series and I haven't felt the ball hit my bat as hard as that ball felt when it hit my bat. So I said to the boys even coming into today (fifth day) to be careful, this new ball, it's going to be tricky. It's going to be a lot harder than that other ball," he said.