Ricky Ponting can only guarantee seven stars a spot in the Aussie team for the First Test this summer.
Ricky Ponting can only guarantee seven stars a spot in the Aussie team for the First Test this summer.

Ponting reveals Aussie Test XI locks

I'm sure there's mixed emotions around the whole group.

They would've loved more than anything to come here and win this Test match, win the series. I'm sure the coaching staff would be a little disappointed with the level of cricket played this week - I think we would all agree that Australia were a little sloppy the first couple days.

But overall I think it has been a really good campaign for Australia. A semi-final of a World Cup, then straight into an Ashes series, tied 2-2 and retain the urn - that's probably a reasonably fair reflection of the cricket that has been played.

Cricket in Australia during the last two years has been through some pretty tumultuous times; the Cape Town incident, a change of coach, a change of captain.

What I would say now is that things are starting to regenerate. There is more positive talk around Australian cricket than there was.

We've got a terrific batch of fast bowlers at the moment, but some deficiencies with our batting. Both teams would say exactly the same thing; there is room for improvement there.

Heading into the Australian summer, the locks as far as the team are concerned are David Warner - even though he has had a really poor series - Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, definitely. Matthew Wade, off the back of what he has done in this game, is probably also now a lock.

The bowlers then pick themselves. I think Peter Siddle probably won't be in the team for the first Test against Pakistan. I'd go back to Mitchell Starc or James Pattinson, with Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood.

Beyond that, there are a few little gaps there that the selectors need to talk about and work out. I'm not convinced Marcus Harris will start the summer, and what do they do with Mitchell Marsh? Do they want an all-rounder for that No. 6 role, or a Travis Head?

Wade played wonderfully in the second innings, getting through an unbelievable spell from Jofra Archer. He thoroughly deserved a hundred.

That's the reason he got picked. Everyone knows how much of a feisty competitor he is; he generally plays well when things are at their toughest.

The last couple of years for Tasmania in Sheffield Shield cricket, batting on the toughest wicket in Australia, he has scored a lot of runs and thoroughly deserved his chance.

Wade and Archer are teammates. They've played together for the Hobart Hurricanes; Wade was Jofra's captain. During that Archer spell in the evening, it was on! And that's the sort of cricket we love watching.

 

Here we go again.
Here we go again.

The fans were up out of their seats almost every ball, and even us as commentators. A bowler running in and bowling 90mph, and a batsman doing everything he can to combat that. You love seeing Test cricket played that way. That's what I think makes the game so attractive and so exciting.

It's fair to say that Wade is one of those guys that goes looking for a word from the opposition. It definitely gets him going, fires him up, and he's like that in the field too. That's just the sort of person he is; he loves the battle, loves the contest.

There's certain players that you come across in your career that you know you're better off just keeping quiet and letting them get themselves out.

 

Peter Siddle is unlikely to be there.
Peter Siddle is unlikely to be there.

As for Smith, a relative failure for him in the second innings with just the 23, but he has just been incredible. And not just in this series, over the last five years of international cricket.

He has found a way to consistently score runs. There is a level of genius in what he is doing at the moment.

It is different, not the textbook stuff, but there have been hours upon hours of play in this series where he has just never looked like getting out.

He is a very special player. And the way he is trending currently, he is going to go down as one of the all-time greats.

His performances have probably been the difference between both teams in the series.