West Indies v Australia, 1st Test, Jamaica, 1st day May 22, 2008

Ponting relieved to be back in 'whites'

Cricinfo staff


'I've been working pretty hard at my game and felt really good in the nets going into the game, in the practice game last week felt some things coming back again' © Getty Images
 

After playing a captain's innings for Australia on the opening day, Ricky Ponting expressed his relief in reversing his recent slump with the bat. Ponting scored 158 off 224 balls to take Australia to a commanding 301 for 4 after opting to bat first at Sabina Park.

Though Ponting managed a century in his last Test appearance, against India in Adelaide in January, he struggled through the tri-series that followed, scoring 191 in ten games at an average just under 20, and wasn't at his best in the Indian Premier League either. Reflecting on his innings, Ponting said he had the luxury of time to build an innings and play himself into form.

"It's nice to know you have six hours to go out and build an innings," Ponting said at a news conference. "In (Twenty20) sometimes you have got six balls or six minutes.

"The start of a Test summer for me is always exciting. Our last overseas Test was nearly two years ago, we haven't played a lot of Test cricket. I've been looking forward to putting on the whites again and the baggy green and spending some time in the middle. I got that today. The last Test innings I had was a hundred but I struggled through the one-day series and never felt that comfortable and today felt comfortable again.

"I didn't feel like I did much wrong at all today to tell the truth, I've been working pretty hard at my game and felt really good in the nets going into the game. In the practice game last week I felt some things coming back again. Last time, I had a really good tour to the Caribbean, and I have gotten off to a good start this time. It's just funny. Sometimes you go to places that you enjoy playing and you have a lot of success."

Ponting said he was happy with his team's showing on the first day and praised his batsmen for adjusting well on a pitch where scoring got tougher as the day progressed.

"It was hard work, it was hot, when the hardness went out of the ball it was hard to score runs, I think all the batsmen had to work hard. It's important that we don't let today's work slip tomorrow. It's about putting two good days together and then we will really be in the box seat."