Kohli was met with a chorus of loud jeers when he came out to bat for India in the first innings on Thursday with the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) faithful giving the batsman a hostile reception.
This was not the first time the India superstar had been met with boos in the four-match series with similar receptions given to him at Perth and Adelaide.
On commentary duties for Channel 7, Ponting said, “If it was booing then it’s absolutely disgraceful.”
“I said that in the Perth Test as well. Show some respect,” the Australian icon added.
Ponting was not the only one to criticise the home support with Cricket Australia chief executive Kevin Roberts echoing the same sentiments during an interaction on SEN Radio.
“I don’t like seeing that. We talk about making Australians proud, we talk about the fact our goal is to win but our non-negotiable expectation is to compete with honour and I’d urge our fans to support the game with honour,” said Roberts.
“It’s bigger than all of us, respect our visitors, give them the best possible experience of our country, hopefully beat them on the field, but in all seriousness, we need to go about this with respect whether we are a player, administrator, fan, broadcaster. Respect is a really core foundation of the game and hopefully we can see that evident,” the Cricket Australia CEO continued.
Kohli has always divided opinion in Australia since his first tour of the country in 2011-12 where he was spotted showing the ‘middle finger’ to the crowd. However, the No1 ranked Test batsman has since toned down his theatrics although he remains an aggressive competitor on the field.
The boos directed towards Kohli at the SCG were even more baffling considering the fact that the India skipper had come out in support of the Glenn McGrath Foundation with pink gloves and a pink sticker on his bat.
Only six players who were part of the ODI squad which lost to South Africa have been retained while Chris Lynn, Travis Head and D’Arcy Short have been given the chop.
Australia’s pace battery of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood have been handed a rest after their exertions in the Test series while Jason Behrendorff and Jhye Richardson have been called up.
Siddle has not played an ODI for Australia since 2010 but his performances in domestic cricket have seen the veteran get an unexpected recall. Also recalled to the ODI are Usman Khawaja, Mitchell Marsh and Peter Handscomb.
“After a disappointing period in ODI cricket, the National Selection Panel along with team coaches have reviewed our performances across this format and we’ve identified a number of key areas that we feel we need to improve in order to help put this team in the best possible position to turn this period around,” Australia selector Trevor Johns stated.
“With a focus on improving our ability to post competitive totals we’ve recalled Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb and Mitch Marsh to the squad.
“Usman is a batsman we know can put vital runs on the board at the top of the order, and Peter is not only a fine player of spin bowling, he’s also a batsman we know can hold an innings together while keeping the scoreboard ticking over. Mitch gives us another all-round option with his ability with both bat and ball,” he continued.
Australia and India are slated to play three ODIs in the upcoming series with the first match set to be held at Sydney on January 12.
AUSTRALIA 14-MAN SQUAD
Aaron Finch (capt), Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey (wk), Peter Handscomb, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Peter Siddle, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Adam Zampa.
Led by a brilliant 193 from Cheteshwar Pujara, India amassed a mammoth 622-7 in their first innings of the final Test before skipper Virat Kohli announced the declaration.
Despite Pujara’s continued brilliance, it was a day that clearly belonged to Rishabh Pant who became the first Indian wicketkeeper in history to register a Test ton on Australian soil.
Here, we take a closer look at the youngster’s displays on day two.
RUNS SCORED: 159
BALLS FACED: 189
Pant arrived at the crease following the dismissal of Hanuma Vihari and took no time in settling down on a day where conditions were perfect for batting.
The 21-year-old provided able support at the other end to Cheteshwar Pujara in the early half of his innings and changed gears once the top-order India batsman was dismissed for 193.
Bringing out all the shots in his book, Pant cruised towards his second Test hundred and grew even more assertive after reaching three figures. The Delhi man forged a record 204-run seventh-wicket stand along with Ravindra Jadeja and remained unbeaten on 159 before Virat Kohli declared India’s first innings with an hour left to play.
Pant has always been an explosive batsman but he curbed much of his attacking instincts in the early stages of his innings. The young wicketkeeper-batsman was content to play second fiddle to Pujara through quick rotation of the strike and that served him well as he settled down nicely at the crease.
He only changed gears once Pujara had departed and did not take too many undue risks until he brought up a special century. Once past the 100-run mark, Pant showed his attacking flair as he took his toll on a tiring Aussie bowling attack.
There was not much that the India youngster got wrong as he showed some excellent temperament to pace his innings beautifully. There were, however, a few bundles of nerves from Pant once he entered the 90s.
That tentativeness was understandable from Pant given his inexperience and the fact that it is his first tour of Australia.
The only mistake from Pant on day two which could prove costly was the reprieve he handed Usman Khawaja in the third over of Australia’s innings. Mohammed Shami drew an outside edge from the Aussie opener but Pant failed to hold on to a straightforward chance.
There can be no complaints so far about Pant’s batting but his glove work still needs a lot of work if he is to become a Test mainstay.
VERDICT – 9/10
His dropped catch of Khawaja takes some sheen off Pant’s scintillating display on Thursday but there is no denying that India have a gem on their hands with his emergence.
His innings was full of confidence and it showed that the youngster can mix some excellent temperament to go with his, at times, outrageous shot-making.
That he is now ahead of Kohli in the run-tally for the series and only behind Pujara speaks volumes about the progress the youngster from Delhi has made since making his international bow in August.
To become the first Indian wicketkeeper to register Test tons in both England and Australia is no small feat for any player, let alone someone still in the first year of his Test career.
His batting has shades of Adam Gilchrist and he possesses the tools to become one of the best wicketkeeper-batsmen in India’s history. If he can sort out his glove work, there is no doubt that Pant can become India’s long-term answer to the wicketkeeping slot.
Rishabh Pant's 159* is the second-highest Test score by a visiting wicketkeeper in Australia, behind only ABdV's 169 in Perth, 2012 #AUSvIND— Adam Burnett (@AdamBurnett09) January 4, 2019