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November 20, 2007
Australia's tired bowlers will be given a chance to put their feet up after securing a 2-0 series triumph with another solid performance in Hobart. The fast men had to work hard over three days on a flat pitch and they eventually dismissed Sri Lanka for 410 to secure the 96-run win and Australia's 14th consecutive Test victory.
Despite Kumar Sangakkara's excellent 192, Ricky Ponting never feared a loss on the final day, and he wanted his players to use the break before next month's Chappell-Hadlee Series to recover from the strain of back-to-back Tests. "The important thing, especially for the bowlers given the work they've done over the last couple of weeks, is there's a good opportunity for a few guys to put their feet up for a while and start on their recovery work and rehab," he said.
Andrew Symonds did not field in the game due to an ankle sprain while Stuart MacGill has five weeks to regain fitness after struggling with a nagging knee problem. MacGill, who also suffered from hand numbness on day three, picked up the wicket of Farveez Maharoof with a short ball and was unable to maintain a consistent length.
"It all rests with Stuey and his fitness," Ponting said of MacGill's future. "No doubt he has carried a few things through this game with his finger and his knee giving him a few troubles. He has got a few weeks to get his body in the best shape he possibly can."
MacGill, who had knee surgery last month, will have two Pura Cup matches to prove he can last through the India series, which includes two sets of back-to-back Tests. "It's up to everyone back in New South Wales and probably the Australian physio Alex Kountouris to keep a pretty close eye on him and see how his body is progressing for Boxing Day," Ponting said. "I was pretty impressed with what he did in Brisbane and in the first innings here he bowled reasonably well. If he gets his body right and he's fit then he will probably be the No. 1-choice spinner."
Australia chose to hold on to the old ball for much of the morning session and the decision sparked a collapse of 5 for 25 as Sri Lanka's faint hopes of winning ended. "We held back taking the new one," Ponting said. "We had a chat to the bowlers and they felt we should stick with the old ball for a little while. If we got one wicket with that it would be hard for the new batters coming in to start against that reverse-swinging ball. We got one early and Mitchell Johnson got a couple in an over, so that probably went exactly to script."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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