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March 2, 2010
Ricky Ponting has backed Nathan Hauritz to deliver on grounds in New Zealand that may not be all that conducive to spin bowling. The ODI series gets underway on Wednesday at McLean Park in Napier where square boundaries are particularly short.
"Regardless of the size of the grounds, spin bowlers have got a big role to play. You still have to take risks to try hitting spin bowlers for six in the shortened versions of the game," Ponting was quoted as saying in Sydney Morning Herald. ''Nathan's record against some very good opposition the last few years has been very good in all conditions. I expect him to play another big part in the series.''
Hauritz, while hoping to repay his captain's faith, was more realistic about what to expect in Wednesday's encounter. ''I'm not going to be bowling 10 overs for 25 runs,'' Hauritz said. ''It's a matter of just accepting it's going to be pretty tough and whenever I get the opportunity to bowl, just trying to stay on as long as I can.
''I've watched a lot of footage of [New Zealand captain] Daniel Vettori bowling and change of pace is the key. I'll try to keep them guessing. If they miss, you hit. That's about it. The Kiwis all play spin pretty well so a mid-pitch ball is going to go for four or six.
''It's more like damage control. It does look pretty small here and they're also very fast outfields. 'Punter' [Australian captain Ricky Ponting] has been a great advocate of mine. I'm just hoping to keep repaying the faith a little bit longer and try to get out of these games unscathed.''
Australia and New Zealand drew the Twenty20 internationals 1-1; the second game, which featured a scintillating century from Brendon McCullum, only the second in the format in international cricket, was decided in the Super Over in which the hosts prevailed. McCullum's 57-ball 116 included 12 fours and eight sixes; the ramp shot over short fine featured prominently in his innings. Ponting, though, expected McCullum to show more restraint in the 50-over version.
''I'd be surprised if he plays the way he did in the T20. He'll probably feel a bit more responsibility going into a 50-over game," Ponting said. ''He's one of their most experienced players and probably their batter in the best form at the moment so I think he'll put it on himself to bat for longer periods of time. But there has been some conversation around the group about the way we should play if he tries to play that shot again.''
Vettori added there had been plenty of hype surrounding the series. ''Playing Australia … this is one of the tournaments that I think the New Zealand public gets up the most for and we've performed pretty well in it overall,'' he said. "Everyone has experienced how excited everyone is about the series. Three months ago it was all anyone was talking about. It means a lot to us. It's basically our credibility within world cricket.''
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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