Ponting looks for best line-up
Ricky Ponting is prepared to experiment with his bowling line-up in the final World Cup warm-up match against England on Friday as he tries to discover his best combination. Australia were unable to dismiss Zimbabwe on a slow pitch in St Vincent, where they broke a five-match losing streak with a 106-run win, and the attack was the main problem during the batch of losses to England and New Zealand.
"We've got to keep the bigger picture in mind," Ponting told AFP. "If we are not completely convinced as to what our best 11 is, we might have to give the five, six or seven bowlers the seven or eight overs, rather than five bowlers 10 each. We'll see how that game pans out."
Brad Hogg's role is again a worry after he completed his sixth game without a wicket and picked up figures of 0 for 36 off eight overs. Hogg has said he is bowling as well as he ever has and Ponting has told him to relax.
"In the last three or four overs against Zimbabwe he did that," Ponting said. "He's Australia's best one-day spin bowler. There'll be a lot of opportunities for slow bowlers in this tournament."
Brad Hodge, the part-time offspinner, chipped in with a wicket during his six overs while Michael Clarke, the left-arm slow bowler, is expected to play a significant part in the tournament. Australia's balance has been severely disrupted by Andrew Symonds' arm injury, although he has started to throw.
"I thought Hodge did a good job for us," Ponting said. "We've got Michael Clarke, who will be able to do a job for us at some stage. If we get Symonds back I hope he's going to be a big part of that slow-bowling brigade. We feel that we've got basically all the bases covered on what we need in a World Cup."
Despite not knowing his preferred line-up, Ponting's goals are high. "I want to win every game we play while we are here," he said. "Hopefully we can go through winning every game. For us, it's important to get a bit of a winning feeling back around the team. We've lost five games in a row and that's something this group of players is not that used to."