One of the greatest captains in cricket history, Ricky Ponting has led Australia to many memorable victories, including lifting the ICC World Cup trophy twice, 2003 and 2007. However, even the greats have rough days and unwanted records which are dwelled upon. This particular record is one that Ponting and Australia will never forget. On this day in 2009, Ponting became the first Australia captain since 1890 to lose the Ashes series twice in England. The last time Australia lost both the Ashes series in England was the 1884 and 1890 series, led by Billy Murdoch at the time.
Now, that is one unwanted record Ponting would want to erase from his illustrious career, but cannot. Australia lost the 2009 Ashes 1-2 with two matches ending in a draw. The Andrew Strauss-led England side beat Australia in the final Test at the Oval to lift the coveted Ashes urn. Ponting hit a low in his career after the twin debacles and thus became the first captain since 1890 to lose back-to-back Ashes in England. In the 2005 Ashes, which is till date regarded one of the greatest series to have been witnessed, England won the five-match series 2-1 with two matches ending in a draw.
While Strauss was hailed as an England hero, Ponting and his boys had their heads down in shame. The Australia media heavily criticised Ponting for the Ashes loss despite the skipper leading Australia lift the 2007 World Cup.
The first match of the 2009 Ashes series at Cardiff ended in a draw, which saw Australia score a mammoth 674 in the series. Simon Katich (122), Ponting (150), Marcus North (125) and Brad Haddin (121) scored centuries. Australia had the match in the bag, but England hung on till the very end and escaped by the skin of their teeth from losing the match as Australia only needed one wicket to win. But the hosts stuck on, with the match resulting in a draw.
In the second match at Lord’s, England dominated both the innings, winning by 115 runs. Flintoff’s fifer, Strauss’ 161 were key in England’s win and taking a series lead. The third match at Birmingham was affected by the weather which did not see England play their second innings, thus ending in a draw.
The fourth Test at Leeds saw the visitors roar back and hammered the hosts. Australia bashed England by an innings and 80 runs after enforcing a follow on. The series was level and it boiled down to the last match of the series at the Kennington Oval.
England won the toss and opted to bat. The hosts scored a challenging 332 and Australia had the opportunity to fight back after a dominating performance in the 4th Test. However, Stuart Broad (5/37) and Greame Swann (4/38) had other plans as England bowled out Australia for 160. The hosts confidently declared at 373/9, setting a giant target of 545 for the Aussies to chase. Succumbing to the pressure, Australia were bowled out for 348 and England won the match and the series by 197 runs.
Ponting continued as captain till the 2011 World Cup and after the defending champions were ousted in the quarter-finals, Ponting stepped down as captain.