Hard work pays off for Ponting
Ricky Ponting rarely gets too emotional when he reaches a century but even he was particularly excited by his first hundred in India. After four tours and 12 years of trying, he finally was able to conquer the one major blight on an outstanding career.
And for once Ponting, who prefers to deflect personal attention, was happy to talk about it in detail. "I'm as pleased with that innings as I probably have been with any innings I've ever played," he said. "I'd played eight Tests here before with a highest score of 60, so I had some work to do. I had a point to prove to a few people as well. It was satisfying today."
Ponting said the key difference was he had learned to trust his technique, something he has developed since the team arrived in India. "I've been working really hard," Ponting said. "I've made no secret of it, my record here has been poor.
"Today is one step in the right direction. It was nice to get some runs out there and put the team in a good position. But one innings doesn't make a tour."
Ponting said Greg Chappell, who was appointed coach of Australia's Centre of Excellence last month, has been a "great acquisition" and had helped form his strategy. "We've all had a bit of input from Greg," he said. "There's no rocket science.
"All of us through the last few weeks have had the opportunity to speak to him about how to adapt our games to these conditions. There's no doubt he's had some influence on me and the other guys."
Ishant Sharma troubled Ponting at times, just as he did in Perth during the previous series in Australia. "It is a great feeling to bowl to him [Ponting] because he is my favourite batsman," Ishant said. "But I am not thinking about this when he is in front of me; I just look to bowl in the right areas."
The first-over loss of Matthew Hayden meant Ponting arrived after only three balls, but it turned into a big advantage because it saved him from an immediate duel with Harbhajan Singh. "It probably helps," he said of getting in early. "It's probably the hardest for any batsmen to start against spin, especially with a really soft ball like it was today. It was hard to get it through the field.
"The other tours I've had here, apart from the last Test I played, I've batted at six, always coming in against spin and when the wicket has worn. One thing that stands out in my career is whenever I've been in early, with the team in a bit of trouble, I've managed to make runs."