Ponting hails North's nous
Ricky Ponting reserved special praise for Marcus North after the part-time off-spinner bowled the tourists to victory at Lord's.
Last Updated: 16/07/10 6:13pm
Australia captain Ricky Ponting reserved special praise for Marcus North after the part-time off-spinner bowled the tourists to a first Test victory over Pakistan at Lord's.
The right-arm slow bowler, who had taken just one previous five-for during his 11-year first-class career, finished with figures of 6-55 - the best ever by an Australian spinner at Lord's - as Ponting's troops wrapped up a 150-run victory on day four.
His introduction into the attack proved a masterstroke by Ponting, who had watched on as his pace bowlers struggled to pose problems on a flat Lord's surface.
North grabbed the crucial wicket of Salman Butt (92) with his very first delivery, and from there on victory became a formality.
"The whole thinking behind (North's spell) was that with two left-handers in we wanted to move the ball away from them and he got a wicket with his first ball and never looked back," said Ponting.
"I thought he bowled really well today and it goes to show his all-round talents. It was a great return for him today."
Ponting's opposite number Shahid Afridi confirmed after play that he will retire from Test cricket after next week's second Test at Headingley.
The Tasmanian sounded far from surprised by his decision.
"Lots of funny things happen around the Pakistan side," Ponting commented after recording a 13th consecutive Test victory over Pakistan.
Afridi had ended four years of Test retirement to take over as captain after previous skippers Mohammad Yousuf and Younus Khan were reprimanded following Pakistan's disastrous recent tour of Australia.
But the 30-year decided he does not have the temperament to play Test cricket.
"My temperament is not good enough to play Test cricket," said Afridi, who has also been struggling with a side injury.
"Over the last four years I have played a lot of one-dayers and Twenty20s and so I am going in with the same temperament.
"In Test cricket the demands are totally different. You can say I am not strong enough mentally.
"Captains should be an example for youngsters and for the team but I didn't show any example. I am not capable of playing Test cricket. If I play cricket like this it is better to leave."
"(But) we need experienced players in these English conditions. We need Younus Khan."