Ricky Ponting rues Australia's missed opportunities: 2-2 not a fair reflection
Australia managed to retain the Ashes Urn as holders after winning the 4th Test in Manchester (Reuters Photo)
- The Ashes series ended in a draw for the first time since 1972
- Australia won the Birmingham and Manchester Tests to retain the Urn as holders
- The visitors were eyeing their first Test series win in England in 18 years
Former captain Ricky Ponting on Sunday stated that Australia were better than England throughout the Ashes series and rued the missed opportunities that the visitors failed to grab, as a result the 5-Test series ended in a draw for the first time since 1972.
Australia won convincingly at Birmingham and Manchester but lost the matches at Leeds and The Oval. The visitors though, managed to retain the Ashes Urn as holders.
But Ponting says the series result could have been different had Australia held their nerve, and their catches.
"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," Ponting told cricket.com.au.
The fifth and final Test ended inside four days after Australia were bowled out for 263 in their chase of 399 for victory. Matthew Wade was the only batsman who showed some fight on what proved to be the final day of the series as he played a fighting knock of 117 off 166 balls.
24 was the next best score managed by all-rounder Mitchell Marsh as Stuart Broad and Jack Leach ran through the Aussie batting lineup, finishing with 4 wickets each while captain Joe Root bagged 2.
Ponting heaped praise on Steve Smith, who finished the series with 774 runs at an average of over 110, but slammed the Aussie openers, who failed in every match.
"Steve Smith has been unbelievably good. 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," Ponting said.