Ponting lauds depleted side
Ricky Ponting was a relieved man at the end of a gripping game in Hyderabad, with Australia taking a 3-2 series lead after Sachin Tendulkar threatened to chase 351. Having made 350 on a pure batting track, Ponting was indebted to his replacement players who he felt stepped up admirably in a display that saw Australia edge India by three runs.
Australia have so far lost five players to injury and Ponting was pleased with the way the replacements responded. "It's remarkable considering the number of players we have had injured on this tour and we had a couple of our better players who didn't make the tour," Ponting said. "When you take all those things into consideration, the way we are continuing to improve our cricket is fantastic.
"It is a great win for the boys and I am really happy to see some of the young guys doing well. It's a really good sign for the team."
Ponting was also full of praise for Tendulkar, whose superb 175 was cut short with India needing 19 from 17 deliveries. "Sachin played beautifully. It was one of the best knocks I've ever seen," he said. "We just had to keep hanging in there and I kept telling the bowlers to stick to their plans and to execute them well.
"It just takes one false shot and you are back in the game, but Sachin didn't play too many false ones tonight. I thought we batted well too and Shaun Marsh and Watson were terrific for us today at the top of the order."
Marsh scored his first one-day international century and finished with 112 at a run a ball in his first series back after six months out of the Australia team. Marsh was a regular at the top of the order for Australia until suffering a hamstring injury in the series against Pakistan in the UAE and his nagging problem, combined with the success of Tim Paine as a replacement opener, meant he faced some nerves about whether he could regain his position.
"It felt like I was never going to get there when I was doing recovery with my hamstrings and all that," Marsh told AAP. "It was a long six months when I did it in Dubai and knew it would be a lot of hard work. All the hard work I have done over the past six months is paying off a little bit so I have to continue now to make sure I don't get too far in front of myself as I know this game can bite you on the bum very quickly."
Marsh has now followed in the footsteps of his father Geoff Marsh, whose first ODI century was also against India. "It's a day I will remember for a long time," he said. "It's a good feeling to know that he [Dad] has scored a century for Australia and that now I have has well."