Ponting proud of team performance in stalemate
Ricky Ponting will leave Antigua with no regrets despite failing to win a match his team controlled for most of the game. After being set an unachievable 372 for victory with Ponting's overnight declaration, West Indies were able to fight their way through a tough final day to hand Australia their second draw in three Tests.
Rain on the third day, a flat pitch and a defiant partnership between Ramnaresh Sarwan, who scored 128, and Shivnarine Chanderpaul (77 not out) prevented Australia from wrapping up the series with one game to play. "We lost a bit of time but we had every opportunity today to win the Test," Ponting said after play. "Ramnaresh and Shiv played very well and that partnership in the middle session that we couldn't break was the difference between us winning and it being a draw."
Brett Lee backed up from his impressive fourth-day spell, when he picked up five wickets in five overs, with two of the first three breakthroughs before Australia were stalled by the 143-run stand between Sarwan and Chanderpaul. It was an impressive game for Lee, who captured career-best match figures of 8 for 110.
"In his spell yesterday morning he ran in and bowled nice and fast, and his spell this morning with the new ball sort of gave us a chance," Ponting said. "We figured pretty early in this game there was no point pitching the ball up and trying to swing it, you really had to bash it into the wicket and try to get a little bit out of it that way. He did that manfully throughout, as did all our bowlers."
Ponting said he was proud of the way his team stuck to its task during the match. "It's been a difficult wicket for the fast bowlers, there's been very little on offer and it has been a bit of a batsman's paradise," he said. "I'm sure when we get down to Barbados there will be a little bit more bounce and assistance from the wicket." The players have some time off before they start preparing for the final Test from June 12.