Australia v Scotland post match comments
Jon Coates The Scotsman
AFTER his side administered the second heaviest defeat in World Cup history, Australia captain Ricky Ponting admitted that Scotland's decision to bowl first upon winning the toss had played into his hands.
Scotland captain Craig Wright sent the world champions in but batting conditions in St Kitts proved to be superb and Ponting hit 113 as his side racked up 334 for six. Wright argued that he would make the same decision if put in the situation again, but Ponting said he had been pleasantly surprised to get first use of a tremendous wicket.
"I was a little bit surprised [to be put in first], because the wicket was very good and we were going to bat first anyway," said Ponting. "So losing the toss was fine by me. If that's the way they felt was the best way for them to try and win the game, then that's what they did. It's all about trying to match up your strengths."
Ponting said he had cooled on his feelings of disdain for the presence of amateur nations at the World Cup, not because Scotland's performance made him think the gap was thinning, but because of a realisation that every oak comes from an acorn.
"I don't know if got anything out of it today. You're probably better off asking their captain. But the more you think about it, if they have got something out of the game that can make them better, then that's what it's all about. We need the game to be strong all around the world and it wasn't that long ago that a side like Sri Lanka was in a similar position.
"Their bowlers were pretty solid. I thought the spinners did a reasonable job and Rogers bowled very well early on. Hoffmann and Blain bowled reasonably well with the new ball.
"But there is a reasonably big gap. I think we won by 200-and-something runs today. That's a pretty big gap in one-day cricket."
Wright defended his decision at the coin toss, claiming that the conditions in the second innings – many of Scotland's wickets were, admittedly, self-inflicted as they were all out for 131 – were no worse than they were in the morning.
"It was because of the weather conditions overnight, the fact the wicket had been under cover and the fact it was quite humid. I thought it was the right decision at the time and given the decision to make again, I would do exactly the same," he said. "I didn't think the wicket played any different in the second innings.
"For the first 45 overs of the Australia innings we competed reasonably well. I thought we had the opportunity to keep them just below 300 and on that ground, that would have been a really commendable achievement. But the first ten overs of our innings obviously killed us, losing all those wickets.
"I think we are very realistic about the challenge facing us here. are world-class players and a world-class team, and there are definitely positives we can take out of [yesterday's game], particularly with our performance with the ball and in the field for most of their innings. Colin Smith would be the one who can take a lot of positives with the bat, as well.
"As I said before, it's a learning experience playing that sort of opposition and it's not something we get the opportunity to do very often. We have another opportunity next week against South Africa and I hope we can raise our game for that."
Asked if the Scots had reached their objective of playing to their own highest standards, Wright said: "Overall, probably no. We did for large parts of the Australian innings, but the batting has let us down again. Only one batter has made a significant score, but it's a big ask for our batters to face a range of bowlers who are operating at a different level to what they are used to."
Blain was unable to bat after being taken to hospital after pulling up with cramp in his calf muscles. Wright said he had been diagnosed with a viral infection after developing a sore throat in recent days.