Ponting to ensure Hughes stays grounded


Melbourn : Young Australian opener Philip Hughes, who impressed everyone with his batting prowess in the second Test against South Africa, is being watched over by skipper Ricky Ponting to ensure he is not carried away by his runaway success.

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“I’ll make sure his head doesn’t get too big over the next couple of weeks,” Ponting was quoted as saying in The Age.

Hughes has become the youngest batsman in Test history to hit two centuries in the second Test in his debut series against South Africa in Durban. The banana farmer’s son from Macksville was 20 years and 98 days old when he got to his second 100 in the second Test Sunday to earn the distinction and was also adjudged Man of the Match.

In the process he broke a 79-year-old record held by West Indian George Headley, who was called the black Bradman.

Ponting while praising Hughes temperament said: “I’ll keep pulling him back into line. Look, his temperament, they came out with all guns blazing in the second innings in Johannesburg.”

“I got to spend a bit of time with him then. I made sure I was around him and the bowler when a few of the verbals were taking place, just to see how he was handling it.

“Every time, he would just look at me with a smile on his face and tell me that he was loving it. That’s what Test cricket is all about. It’s about that one-on-one contest that you get into. That’s what keeps me playing now, I love the contest of bat versus ball. Phil showed that he really enjoys that,” Ponting said.

Proteas captain Graeme Smith admits to be taken aback by Hughes.

“You can’t argue with his performances so far,” Smith said. “The frustrating thing from our part is that we haven’t been able to execute our game plans to him. We’ve allowed him to play the way that he wants to play and we haven’t really attempted to make him do anything different.”

The third Test starts at Newlands March 19.