Ricky Ponting has attributed Australia's Champions Trophy success to the efforts of youngsters in his team, especially their performance in an occasionally tense final.
"We have gone through some ups and downs in the last 18 months. A number of great players have left and we brought in a lot of young, fresh players. It was great to see some of them stand up and deliver," Ponting said after Australia's six-wicket win over New Zealand that gave them their second Champions Trophy title.
Australia's bowling performance in the final was led by Nathan Hauritz, who grabbed 3 for 37, including the well-set Martin Guptill for 40. Later, in their chase of 201, Australia were in trouble at 6 for 2 but Shane Watson and Cameron White added 128 to put them in control. "Two young guys at the crease at 6 for 2, it doesn't get any tougher and they did a great job," Ponting said.
Australia came in to the tournament as favourites along with South Africa, fresh from the success of a 6-1 ODI humiliation of England. They beat West Indies in a tough contest in Johannesburg, were dominant against India in a washed-out game and edged Pakistan in a two-wicket win in Centurion. They were comprehensive winners in the semi-final against England, Ponting and Shane Watson hammering centuries in a nine-wicket win.
"In the ODI series in England after the Ashes, we did well there to put ourselves in a position where we can give this tournament a little bit of a shake," Ponting said. "We've played some great cricket over the last couple of weeks here."
The Champions Trophy also brought personal success for Ponting, as he emerged the highest run-getter with 288 at 72 in four games. He was honoured with a golden bat for that feat, and followed it up with the Man-of-the-Series award, ahead of Watson, who finished the tournament with back-to-back centuries.
"We needed discipline today, and we knew that if I was around till the 40th over, we had a chance," Watson, who was Man of the Match, said after his innings of 105. "It was set up with Ricky's help in the semi-finals to get me through, and he missed out today, but it was time for another to step up.
"The wicket today was a little slower than the other night but Kyle Mills and Shane Bond bowled beautifully straight up until me and White had a good partnership."