India v Australia, 2nd Test, Bangalore, 5th day October 13, 2010

'We need to move on quickly' - Ponting

ESPNcricinfo staff
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Having gotten so used to singing Under the Southern Cross to celebrate Test victories for most of his career, Ricky Ponting now finds himself in the sort of situation that once confronted Allan Border in the late 1980s. A 2-0 defeat in India, especially after coming within a ball of winning the first Test, is hardly ideal preparation to try and win back the Ashes, but the man entrusted with restoring Australian cricket to the top asserted that it wasn't all doom and gloom after the latest Indian misadventure.

"There have been a few positives," Ponting said. "[Mitchell] Johnson and [Ben] Hilfenhaus have been very good. Shane Watson at the top of the order. Tim Paine has looked every bit a world-class keeper-batsman. The rest of us have been a bit inconsistent. We haven't played the five days that we need to to win games. They deserve to have won both games, but even if you ask them, they're a bit flattered by that result."

Some of the squad now face limited-overs games against India and Sri Lanka, while others will return to a diet of Shield cricket before the first Test against England. "We've got to move on pretty quickly now. Our next Test match is at the Gabba, the start of the Ashes series. We have to make sure that we play five long tough days of Test cricket."

While bitterly disappointed at another loss in India, Ponting suggested that it would have little bearing on the contest for the urn. "They're totally different conditions," he said. "It's going to be interesting to see how the group bounces back now. That's three Tests in a row we've lost as well. We can't forget the last one against Pakistan. I'm not sure that's happened in my time of playing for Australia. It's certainly not happened since I've been captain.

"There are some issues there that we need to deal with, and we have to get over them quickly. We've managed to match it with the No.1 team for nine of the 10 days, but we haven't been good enough when it's mattered."

When it was pointed out that Australia hadn't lost three in a row since West Indies defeated them at Brisbane, Perth and Melbourne in 1988, he said: "I wasn't playing in 1988, though it feels like it (grins). We have to get off that train for sure, and start winning some Tests pretty soon."

Having come to India with a Test average of 20 in 12 Tests here, Ponting the batsman certainly went some way towards correcting that anomaly in his career stats. But when asked whether he felt he had done his part, he disagreed. "When a No.3 batsman gets in and makes 60 or 70, you expect him to go on and make big scores. Tendulkar did it; he made 200. If I'd made 200 in the first innings, the result might have been different. We've got to be harsh on ourselves. Three scores in the 70s is not good enough."

His deputy, Michael Clarke, managed just 35 runs in the series, a far cry from 2004 when he made a scintillating century on debut in Bangalore. Clarke has moved up the order to No.4, but Ponting was adamant that the switch had nothing to do with the downturn in his batting fortunes. "We've all had those series in India." he said. "I had about four of them [laughs], where I came here and worked hard without getting the results I wanted.

There's no need to worry about Michael Clarke. He knows his own game very well. The fact that he's moved up one spot in the order hasn't got anything to do with the runs he has or hasn't scored. He's a world-class player and I'm sure that when the Ashes come round, you'll see him in good touch."

Apart from Ben Hilfenhaus, who toiled away diligently while enhancing his claim to keep the new ball, there was little consistency on the bowling front. But in Ponting's eyes, it was the batsmen who cost the side the series. "I think our bowlers have done a terrific job here," he said. "We were one ball away from winning the first Test. I don't think they were disappointing. If anything, the reason we've lost both games is our second-innings batting. If we had batted an hour longer in both Tests, we certainly wouldn't have lost."

While the match was in progress, Shane Warne, his former team-mate, weighed in with some scathing criticism of the field Ponting set for Hauritz. When asked about it, Ponting put down his old mate in polite fashion. "Every field that Nathan's bowled to since he's been here has been at his request," he said. "Those are the fields he wants to bowl to. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that Shane would take the time to ask anyone about that. He's got his opinion out in public at the moment.

"Different people say different things. We don't always agree with all of them. There's no doubt we'll all face a bit of criticism having lost two Tests, but it would be nice if they were a bit more informed before they made some of their comments."

There was no unequivocal backing for Hauritz though, when asked what lay ahead for the beleaguered offie. "That's up to him to work out," said Ponting. "As you know, I've given him what I feel is the right advice, on the little things he can work on. That's what captains and coaches are in place for.

Hopefully he plays well in the one-day series here and gets a bit of confidence under his belt before he gets back to Australia. He can play a couple of Shield games there and start working things out for himself."

He also brushed off suggestions that there might be major changes in personnel ahead of the Ashes. "We all have to be disappointed with the results," he said. "But all any of us can do when we go back home is play the best cricket that we can. Me, I've got to make as many runs as I can. Anyone that's out of the squad at the moment ... if they keep scoring runs and putting their hands up, we'll wait and see what happens when the selection comes round for Brisbane. I don't think there are too many gaping holes in our team. We just have to make sure we don't let opportunities slip."

They did in Mohali, and after being outplayed for the final five sessions in Bangalore, it will be interesting to see what this team are made of. Do some of the old warhorses have one big series left in them? And how many of the inexperienced hands are capable of the game-changing performance? Ponting and Hilfenhaus aside, there's an ordinariness and inconsistency there that England will certainly have noted as the clock ticks down to the Gabba.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Jaggadaaku on October 16, 2010, 9:37 GMT

    " I am still the best choice as a captain - Ponting" this over pride and over confidence of himself could carry down Australia at the bottom. This is the man who never learn. This is the man who always speaks non-sense before every series starts. You praised Johnson and Hilfenhaus saying they provided very good bowling in this series. No, Mr. Ponting, only Johnson bowled very good in this series, but we know why you also added Hilfy's name in good Ausies bowlers territory. We know why he could get a chance in National Team of Australia despite many better bowlers still sitting on the bench such as Simon Tait, S. Clark, P. Siddle, RJ Harris and may be more. Because Hilfy is your cousin. What did he do great in this series or this last Test match? He got Sehwag's wicket, but anyone could get Sehwag's wicket because Sehwas was going after every ball of every over. So, put control on your speaking otherwise your mouth will be sewed forever by getting defeated of next all series. No more

  • kang-a-roo on October 16, 2010, 9:12 GMT

    There's no point in criticizing Punter for the 2-0 deficit. He did everything he could to win at Mohali but VVS prevented him from snatching a memorable victory. As far as using the part-timers is concerned, I think Ponting could have used Clarke keeping in mind his record against India in crucial stages of the match(6-9 at Mumbai & 3 quick tail wickets at Sydney). At present, middle order is the biggest point of concern for Ponting. The opening pair of Watson & Katich are having a dream run. But the likes of Hussey, North, Clarke and Ponting himself are not producing runs proportional to their stature. Hussey has a lot left in him and I'm sure that he would be itching to get some good runs in domestics now. Would-be-captain Clarke is going through the worst phase of his career till now and has a lot of pressure on him. It would be good to see him get some runs in the ODI series to bring back his confidence. All the best Pup for the ODIs.

  • dummy4fb on October 15, 2010, 20:43 GMT

    @Boidji awesome comments :P

  • ravi_hari on October 15, 2010, 11:54 GMT

    From Australia's point of view this was a series which they should not have palyed at all. This is certainly not the right preparation for Ashes. In the past decade Australia has won a series in India only once and Ponting has a dubious record here. Having come here, Ponting should have brought the right players for the battle. I dont think it was a good idea to have Hauritz as their spinner. Off spinners ahve rarely been successful in India. Left arm spinners are the one who succeeded. Instead Australia should have opted for a medium pace all rounder. Secondly, it is surprising witht he way Ponting has used his part time bowlers. He did not use Clarke in the first test and did not use North at the right times in the second test. His field placements all through the series have been far from the required. An aggressive captain would not use such fields.Blame it on Ponting the captain fro the debacle. Hari Ravi

  • nani_cool21 on October 15, 2010, 10:07 GMT

    Hey ponting is very good cricketer and also one of contemporary greats.He is in transition period.It quite normal for team when they lost players like glen ,Gilly,Haydos .But get symonds back into u r team.Thats only the way u can strengthen u r team.Ponting some home going in bad patch as a captain and as a batsman.Get symo and haddin back into the team.

  • Jaggadaaku on October 15, 2010, 9:46 GMT

    @ Ranga Samarawickrama, You must know why India refused to accept URDS. Because when India came in your Sri Lanka around 2 years ago, India and your Sri Lanka both accepted URDS. And in that series, when Indian batsmen were clearly seeing notout on the screen and they used their challenge to the third umpire, your third umpire gave them out. So, since then India learned that if we have URDS or not, the third umpire is doing whatever he wants. When there was doubt in the decision in that series, your third umpire gave all Indian batsmen out while in Cricket, always benefit of doubt goes to batsmen. Refusing URDS by India in this series cost both of the teams. If India would have accept URDS, India could have won the first test in only 4 days. And in 2nd test, both teams suffered equally. I know your buttock is burning because India whitewashed Australia, and your Sri Lanka haven't done yet and never could do it in million years now.

  • Jaggadaaku on October 15, 2010, 9:42 GMT

    @ anurag70, You are right, Bangladesh beat New Zealand, that doesn't mean Bangladesh is better than New Zealand. But today if Bangladesh is upper level on ICC table than New Zealand and then they would beat New Zealand, they obviously would become better than New Zealand. And that happened in here. India is on the top and Australia is on the 4th or 5th, and India beat Australia, so India obviously became a lot better than Australia. So, give all the credit to Indian team including captain who did not make any half century in this series, and dropped few catches but his all decision during the match rather comparing them with other teams. India did not become the No. 1 in Test Cricket in just few moments, but they beat nearly every team in this last 2 years. Some of the teams were beaten by India in their own country. So, please don't compare Indian victory over Australia with Bangladeshies victory over New Zealand. It shows your foolishness and childish mind.

  • pom_basher on October 15, 2010, 9:25 GMT

    Have never seen a losing team, who is 5th in rankings, get so much press!!!

  • rkannancrown on October 15, 2010, 8:31 GMT

    Ponting's batting form is also debatable. He is suspect to the incoming ball especially at the start of the innings. The absence of UDRS enabled him to get away at bangalore but with cricket moving in the direction of UDRS, Ponting's scoring ability is also going to be put to test. The decline started after the 2008 Sydney test which Bucknor & Benson won for Australia. The aftermath of the test resulted in umpires no longer ensuring Australian victories and this is the real explanation for their decline. Warne is the easily the spinner with a huge number of debatable LBW decisions and if this is factored, then Australian dominance becomes a myth. Navjeet commented on crowd booing Ponting but i believe it is well deserved because he has been one of cricket's worst example when it came to behaviour. Navjeet only needs to rewind to Sydney in 2008 where Ponting & Clarke were appealing for catches on second bounce.

  • Hagemaru_Hageda on October 15, 2010, 7:22 GMT

    I wonder why Ian Chappel taking it on Michael Clarke. Its just like he don't wanna criticize Ricky, he's finding an alternative. Clarke's graph is moving downwards day by day anyways. I'm pretty sure there must be some quality players in Australian domestic cricket who deserve place in national squad rather than these pathetic current players.

    No choice other than Ponting atleast for a year as a skipper though.

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