Damien Martyn's match-winning 96 in yesterday's inaugural Twenty20 bash between Australia and South Africa at the Gabba has earned him much praise from Ricky Ponting, the Australian captain.
Ponting was lavish in his admiration of Martyn's explosive innings. "He struck the ball very, very well and it goes to show how good a player he can be. He's looking forward to having a good VB Series," he told reporters. "The wicket was quite pacy and had good bounce so it's important you make the most of it. We did a little bit of homework and came out and showcased our skills."
Martyn's 56-ball 96 was highlighted by five sixes, and it came as a fine return to form for a batsman dropped from the Test side and who then suffered a broken finger. It was back to the young days for me," he said. "The crowd's come out, it's been a great spectacle and the boys put on a great show."
He has also refused to give up hope of a recall to the Test team after being dropped at the start of the season following a poor Ashes series. "You never give up on it. I'm not going to sit here and say 'no, I never want to play again', but you've got to be realistic as well that [if there's] a chance, a lot of things might have to happen. I don't really mull over it and worry about it. It's just really going back to state cricket and making runs and trying to enjoy it and the VB Series."
Commenting on South Africa's performance in the match, Graeme Smith expressed his disappointment at the fielding. "It was not a great peformance from us, but all credit to Australia - it was played in a good spirit and the crowd got good value," he said."I don't think we bowled well enough up front. We had a bit of an inexperienced attack at this level and we got shown up a little. We've really fielded well in one-day cricket over the last few months and heading into the VB Series that's going to be a crucial part of our game."
Ponting added that the Twenty20 International concept was a good one but that it should be treated as an occasional one-off. "I think the game would get stale very quickly if it was played a lot," he said. "You just get used to seeing all the boundaries and all the sixes and that sort of thing. I think it's best used in the way it has been used the last few times we've played it."
With the crash-bang affair being a success in front of a home crowd, Australia now look to extend their winning streak in the tri-nation VB Series, which begins at Melbourne on Friday. Australia will play Sri Lanka in this match and then take on South Africa at the Gabba on January 15.