Ashes 2019 | Australia Will Look at Ashes as Series of Missed Opportunities: Ponting
Even as Australia retained the Ashes despite losing the fifth and final Test at The Oval by 135 runs, former Australian captain Ricky Ponting said that 2-2 was not an accurate representation of how the series went and believed Australia were by far the better team.
Pointing out key moments throughout the series, Ponting told cricket.com.au, “Australia will look at it as a series of missed opportunities.
"I think they've clearly been the better team. They've clearly played better cricket throughout the series.
"They should have won at Headingley. If Warner catches Stokes pretty early on at Lord's I think they probably would have gone on to win that game as well.
"That's the way I think they'll look at it. Two-two is not a fair reflection."
Even at The Oval, England captain Joe Root was dropped thrice on Day 1, with the hosts then going on to post 294. However, Ponting said that it was their batting which let Australia down in the match, and not their efforts in other disciplines.
"Once they decided to bowl first, they had to go on and get a first innings lead," Ponting said.
"Knowing how dry the wicket was and how dry it looked, they couldn't afford to be behind in the game after both teams had batted once.
"Once they bowled England out for 294 they just had to get 350. If they got 350 they were in the game."
Ponting also addressed how Smith’s stunning form has also tapered over a lot of the cracks which were showing in the Australian batting lineup. Only three batsmen – Smith, Labuschagne and Wade – averaged more than 28 runs in the series, with opening batsman David Warner having a forgettable summer, averaging just 9.5.
"Steve Smith has been unbelievably good," he said.
"Wade has made a couple of hundreds. The top-order batting has been a huge disappointment for them.
"The opening partnerships through the series haven't been good enough.
"You take Smith, Labuschagne and Wade getting a second innings hundred here, you take them out and there's been a lot of question marks about the batting.
"They bowled particularly well, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood have been outstanding, Nathan Lyon has had another good series with the ball. The bowling group can hold their head really high.
"The boys have been on the road for five months. Making a World Cup semi-final and retaining the Ashes 2-2, it's been a good few months for Australian cricket."