Ricky Ponting: 'You have to do something exceptionally well to turn a game around like that'
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In the euphoria of Australia's magnificent victory Ricky Ponting and Shane Warne agreed the performance was the best they had seen. It is high and justified praise as the match was unbelievable and the pair has been involved in some spectacular wins over the past 15 years.
"To turn a Test around like that, it doesn't happen," Ponting, the Man of the Match, said. "You have to do something exceptionally well to turn a game around like that and our cricket over the last three days has been as good as you'll ever see from any team."
Early on day three Australia were 3 for 65 chasing England's first innings of 551 and staring at a defeat that would have levelled the series. Rather than falling in a heap, Ponting recorded 142 and Michael Clarke produced an outstanding 124 before Warne toppled England with 4 for 49. The chase of 168 was dusted off without too much discomfort and the Australians celebrated like a team that has the Ashes within their grasp.
"England would have turned up today and wouldn't have even thought they could lose," Ponting said. "They probably wanted to get into a position to chuck us in late today and put us under a bit of pressure. We started so well and had them under pressure, then the game was there for the taking."
Warne's previous best Test was in Sri Lanka in 1992
, when he picked up 3 for 11 in only his third game, bowling Australia to victory after they gave up a 291-run advantage on the first innings. "In 140 Tests this was the greatest I have played in," Warne said. "[In the first innings] if we got rissoled the game was over. Everyone played their part through the Test. Today we wanted to win and to go 2-0 up with three to play is a big advantage for us."
Neither player would call the Ashes for Australia but England face an almost impossible task. "I said to Shane after the game," Ponting said, "that he's changed the course of the Test and it could be the series."