Ricky Ponting has backed new Australia head coach Justin Langer to stay calm following defeat to England in his first game in charge.
Australia were bowled out for just 214 in the first one-day international against England at the Oval as they slipped to a three-wicket defeat.
Ponting – who is combining his commentary work with Sky Sports with a role as an assistant coach for Australia during the series – says Langer will not panic despite the poor showing from his team, particularly his batsmen.
“He’ll be very calm, direct I guess but very calm,” Ponting said of his colleague and former team-mate. “As a player, not so much, but he is calmer as a coach.
“He is very well prepared, well organised, but he is also that calming influence. Players know what he expects of them.
“The batting will be the focus, absolutely. We’ve talked a lot about the make-up of the side: was it a batsman light? It wasn’t if your top order batsmen play well. That’s the bottom line.
“Losing an early wicket, Aaron Finch and Shaun Marsh’s partnership looked very promising, but then Moeen Ali came into the attack inside the powerplay and made the very important breakthrough of Finch. Then the brakes went on.
“What Australia needed today was the guys that got in and got starts to go on and get big scores, on what we thought was a really good batting wicket – the 20s and 30s were never going to be good enough.
“You need four or five good performances from your XI to win an ODI game. Australia didn’t get that today, while England had more consistent performers.
“Langer will look at the conditions in Cardiff first before seeing if anything needs to changed, as far as the batting line-up is concerned. I don’t think he will panic at all.
“If they do go in a batsman light again, there will be even more responsibility placed on that top order.”
Despite Australia’s struggles with the bat, they nearly came away with an unlikely victory, as England rather stuttered over the finish line.
The home side lost their first three wickets for 38 runs and a furher three for 10 either side of a century stand between Eoin Morgan (69) and Joe Root (50).
Billy Stanlake was particularly impressive, with the 6 ft 7 seamer claiming 2-44 from his 10 overs in only his third ODI, enough for Ponting to label him a “future superstar”.
“I was very impressed,” added Ponting. “He was very good.
“He is a player of the future, in all forms of the game. We’ve only seen him with a white ball in his hand so far, but anyone who can bowl 90 miles per hour, that’s as tall as him, I think potentially he is a superstar.”
Watch the second ODI between England and Australia in Cardiff, live on Sky Sports Cricket & Main Event from 10.30am on Saturday.
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(c) Sky News 2018: Justin Langer will stay calm following Australia defeat, says Ricky Ponting