Australia v Sri Lanka 2007-08 / News

Australia v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Hobart, 4th day

'We're still right in the box seat' - Ponting

Peter English in Hobart

November 19, 2007

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Kumar Sangakkara feasted on Stuart MacGill's wayward bowling © Getty Images
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Ricky Ponting wiped off Stuart MacGill's severe waywardness as a bad day and will look to him to contribute to Australia's push for victory. Back-to-back Tests have taken their toll on MacGill, who had knee surgery last month, and he bowled in discomfort as he delivered a flood of full-tosses and four no-balls.

Ponting allowed MacGill 20 overs in the absence of Andrew Symonds, who was due to have a scan on his injured ankle after play, and the legspinner went at almost a run a ball. "I know he's struggling as far as his knee goes," Ponting said. "I'm not worried about how he looks or anything like that. His knee is probably holding him up as much as anything.

"I just put it down as a bad day, he'll be able to bounce back." Ponting said the hand numbness that affected MacGill on day three was no longer bothering him.

Kumar Sangakkara attacked MacGill as the weak link in a strong Australian bowling attack and he was relieved to receive the release of pressure after a torrid spell from Brett Lee in the final session. Sangakkara struck 40 runs off the 46 deliveries he faced from MacGill, including seven fours.

"Stuey was struggling a bit," he said. "He's not bowling as good as he usually does. When you have an attack with the quality of Australia, you always cash in on the weaker link. Unfortunately for Stuart MacGill, it was his turn."

Both Sangakkara and Ponting expect the bounce to become more unpredictable on day five and each team will also have an eye on the weather. Showers are forecast and the potential for rain influenced Ponting's declaration before lunch, leaving Sri Lanka with a chase of 507.

"That amount of runs on that wicket was chase-able," Ponting said. "[The declaration] was more the time [factor] for me. Pulling out before lunch was the right thing. If we're not good enough to win the game with five sessions remaining and 500 on the board, it wouldn't have mattered how long we had."

Australia captured three wickets while Sri Lanka cut 247 from the target after Sangakkara controlled the innings with an unbeaten 109. "We've got a new ball around the corner so it would be nice to get a breakthrough with the old ball in the morning and expose some with the new ball," Ponting said. "It will be a bit more up and down, especially with the new ball, and we're still right in the box seat."

Peter English is the Australasian editor of Cricinfo

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