Perth pitch surprises Ponting


Perth : A dejected Ricky Ponting admitted that he was surprised at the uneven nature of the track at the Western Australia Cricket Association ground, where Australia lost to India by 72 runs on the fourth day of the third Test match here Saturday.

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Ponting also said the team missed injured opener Mathew Hayden and at the same time gave full marks to the Indian team for bowling and batting well.

Ponting said: “The pitch wasn’t an easy track to bat on as the scores say because none of the players went on to score a century. The bounce and pace was not even and made life difficult for batsmen.

“They batted and bowled well. It was a tricky game of cricket and the lower order batted really well. Our bowlers did a good job, but our batting let us down. The wicket was best on the second day. We needed two or three guys to make a big score.”

India became the first side to beat Australia in Australia in over four years. The last loss for Australia in a home Test also came at the hands of India at Adelaide in 2003. The latest win made India the first team to beat Australia at Perth in 10 years and also halted Australia’s run of 16 consecutive Test wins.

“We are disappointed to lose. It has been a long time since we have lost a Test. We did not start well but we had our chances on the second day,” Ponting said.

The Aussie skipper, however, took heart from “a terrific Test match”.

Ponting backed the decision to play four pace bowlers, despite the flop show by much-hyped Shaun Tait, who was expected to rattle the Indian batting with his pace.

The Australian captain was all praise for India’s 19-year-old medium pacer Ishant Sharma, who dismissed him in both the innings. “He bowled a really good spell in the morning. He got me in the first innings early on and unfortunately I was not lucky today also.”

But Ponting denied claims that swing from the Indian pace battery troubled the Australian batting line-up.

“All the batsman in the past have played the swinging ball very well and I don’t think that is a problem. I think our batsman played some shots they should not have played.”

Ponting admitted the absence of injured opener Matthew Hayden was felt. “Hayden was missed. He has been a great player and where you have a player of that calibre out of the side, you obviously miss him. There was no effect from the Sydney Test. But we addressed a number of issues that came out of the Sydney game as we do day in and day out,” he said.