'We need to tighten up on how we play' January 14, 2008

Criticism drives Ponting to improve

Cricinfo staff

Ricky Ponting has been surprised by the response to Australia's Sydney performance © Getty Images

Ricky Ponting has used the strong public reaction to his side over the past week to pin-point areas Australia need to improve. However, he said there were no "glaring issues" to address after the heated Sydney Test.

"But when they are all added together in the heat of such a tense and dramatic final day, they caused a reaction, so we need to tighten up on how we play," he wrote in his column in the Australian. "We are very keen to ensure we get the balance of how we play the game right so we can focus clearly on another very big match coming up."

Australia held a team meeting in Perth on Sunday to discuss their Spirit of Cricket pledge, which was developed under Steve Waugh in 2003, and talked about areas where things didn't go as planned in Sydney. The Test contained problems over racism, umpiring, sportsmanship, catching and walking and both teams face alterations in their outlook before the four-match series resumes on Wednesday.

"I have been surprised by the reaction of some in the broader community who believe we did not play that amazing Sydney Test in the spirit of the game," he said. "We take the spirit of cricket very seriously and are determined to ensure we are not only remembered as a good team, but one that is respected throughout the cricket world for the way we play."

He said he was prepared for negative comments about the side because "we are not going to keep everyone happy 100% of the time". "I am always happy to cop that sort of criticism and go away and find ways and means of how we can make things better, as we all are," he said. "We are certainly not brushing off the criticism because if there is a public reaction like there has been, there are some areas we need to improve."

Ponting said it was sad the controversy had taken the spotlight away from the match, which Australia secured with seven balls remaining to take the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. "To be 6 for 130 and win a Test with eight or nine minutes to go on the last day, you have obviously played some great cricket, but it hasn't been mentioned very much," he said. "However, that's out of our control. All I remember from the game is playing and winning one of the all-time great Tests."