'We just weren't good enough' - Ponting
Ricky Ponting refuses to believe Australia's global domination is over after their record-equalling winning streak was ended in Perth. While India's 72-run victory gave the world hope that the gap between Australia and the rest was closing, Ponting was not convinced his team was "on the slide".
"I was reading stuff in the paper about it today, is the invincibility all over?," he said. "I wouldn't have thought so. We'll see. It's up to us to see how we bounce back in Adelaide."
Australia started the fourth day chasing 413 to keep the winning run alive, but they were controlled by a well-rounded India attack and had no excuses for the defeat. Sixteen victories may be the new four-minute mile as Ponting's side will always be level with Steve Waugh's team of 1999-2001.
"It's disappointing, it's been a pretty good run," he said. "It would have been great to win one more, or ten more, but we haven't been good enough. The run was always going to come to an end at some stage. We just weren't good enough here, it's as simple as it gets."
Talk of reaching 17 did not disrupt the preparations and Ponting also rejected suggestions that the controversy after the Sydney Test, which led to Australia adjusting their behavioural outlook, caused a drop in intensity. Ponting had seen the tourists hit back strongly in Kolkata in 2001 and Adelaide on the previous tour and was determined not to underestimate his opponents.
"I stressed to the guys that I wanted us to play the same brand of cricket, a hard-nosed aggressive brand, which is the only way we know to play," he said. "Our skills let us down more than anything this week."
The batting was the biggest problem for Australia, who missed the injured Matthew Hayden, and they were in danger of failing to pass 300 in both innings until Mitchell Johnson and Stuart Clark combined for an entertaining 73-run stand. At no stage did India worry that they would not win and they will head east over the next couple of days looking to repeat the performance of 2003-04 and level the series.
Hayden is likely to return in Adelaide on Thursday and has been named in a 12-man squad while Chris Rogers has been dropped after scoring 4 and 15 on debut. Shaun Tait and Brad Hogg retain their places, with Hogg expected to replace Tait after his disappointing performance in a four-man pace attack.
"We let ourselves down a little bit in this game, now it is up to us to bounce back," Ponting said. "We'll work harder than India in the next week to get ourselves right."
Australia squad for Adelaide
Matthew Hayden, Phil Jaques, Ricky Ponting (capt), Michael Hussey, Michael Clarke, Andrew Symonds, Adam Gilchrist (wk), Brett Lee, Brad Hogg, Stuart Clark, Mitchell Johnson, Shaun Tait.
Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo