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August 17, 2005
Steve Waugh said Ricky Ponting graduated as a Test captain with his century at Old Trafford and his "lesson in concentration and application" should force Australia into action. Writing in his column in the Daily Telegraph, Waugh said if the team didn't follow Ponting's lead "our hold on the Ashes is perilous".
"A draw was like a victory for Australia and this will be the mind-set the team take into the next Test," he wrote. "England will view it as a lost opportunity and will no doubt torment themselves with what might have been."
Waugh said England again could not deliver the "killer blow" after controlling the tempo of the match. "Nevertheless, England are playing better cricket and the Aussies must raise their intensity to reverse the momentum," he wrote.
In 1997 Waugh, then the vice-captain, walked out at Old Trafford with Australia down 1-0 and scored twin centuries to draw Australia level. When Ponting marked his guard his side was in desperate trouble amid poor batting form, rumours of disharmony and a buoyant England backed by a madly patriotic crowd. In scoring a brilliant 156 Ponting took them within 24 balls of a draw, a result that was sealed by Brett Lee and Glenn McGrath.
"Ricky Ponting led from the front in the final day of the Test as all influential leaders should," Waugh wrote. "In time he will look back and see this as his graduation as a Test captain."
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