SPORT

This win has augmented Australia’s bench strength: Ponting

TOAST OF MATES: Wrecker-in-chief Doug Bollinger, along with Mitchell Johnson, put the contest beyond redemption for India.

TOAST OF MATES: Wrecker-in-chief Doug Bollinger, along with Mitchell Johnson, put the contest beyond redemption for India.   | Photo Credit: — PHOTO: S. Subramanium

Principal Correspondent

Guwahati: “We will celebrate tonight,” said Ricky Ponting with an impish grin. The Australian skipper was delighted with his team’s 4-2 triumph against India in the Hero Honda Cup series.

“We have had World Cup and Champions Trophy triumphs but to come here and get through some adversity and win the series makes it special,” Ponting said.

The skipper admitted that he too would have opted to bat. “Losing the toss was a positive because I too would have batted. The pitch was okay. In fact, there was some assistance early on for the seamers but later it was more of a spinning track. Nathan Hauritz spun the ball and so too did Harbhajan Singh and Ravindra Jadeja. I thought our seamers Mitchell Johnson and Doug Bollinger bowled exceptionally well and once we got some wickets and momentum, fortune also favoured us,” Ponting said.

Bench strength

Ponting said that the series has augmented Australia’s bench strength. “India is the second best team in One-Day Internationals and they are tough to beat at home and the exposure here will help all the younger players in my team in the days ahead as we look forward to the last game in Mumbai and our summer of cricket back home,” Ponting said.

Ponting departed and soon M.S. Dhoni arrived and raised his voice as the mike malfunctioned on a day when his team failed to rise to the occasion. “Our batting has not been consistent and at times the tail-enders have scored. We have to win matches to become the No. 1 team and that is not happening at the moment.

“At the toss, I knew that if we kept wickets during the first half an hour, we will do well. I was okay with losing a couple of wickets but 27 for five was a bit too much,” Dhoni said.

Not complacent

The Indian captain said that his team was never complacent against an injury-plagued opposition. “We were not concerned about the Australian camp as we had our own problems to solve. I will never blame our bowlers as they were bowling in batting friendly conditions in the series though they could have fractionally done better,” Dhoni said and refused to pass judgement on his leg before wicket dismissal. “I cannot comment. In the end I was out and the lower order did its bit,” Dhoni said.

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