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Pace holds punter’s ace

Ricky Ponting has put his money on his quick men to turn the tables on India in the second Test beginning at Mohali from Friday, reports Ashutosh Sharma.

cricket Updated: Oct 17, 2008 00:43 IST
Ashutosh Sharma

Ricky Ponting has put his money on his quick men to turn the tables on India in the second Test beginning at Mohali from Friday.

"We will obviously rely more on our pacers to get the job done, but I am also pretty happy with how our inexperienced spinner performed in the first Test," said Ponting.

The Aussies' pace department has, however, lost its frontline bowler in Stuart Clarke, who has been ruled out owing to elbow injury. But Ponting didn't sound much perturbed. "We have Peter Siddle to replace him. He bowls at a lively pace and has progressed well on the tour. He is also a good practitioner of reverse swing, which might be quite handy in these conditions. I think he is up for the challenge," said Ponting.

The Australian skipper was quick to dismiss any question suggesting that an inexperienced spin attack could prove to be their Achilles heel on the tour. "For me, Cameron White did exceptionally well in the first Test. He grew in stature as the game progressed and, with a bit of luck, he could have had much more going in his favour. Besides, the Indians spinners also had a forgettable outing, picking up just three odd wickets for some 300 plus runs," the Aussie skipper pointed out.

Ponting also took a pot shot at the Indians for some big talk. "For us, there's no war of words going on. We are just focussing on our cricket; it's the Indians who are actually doing all the talking. But we wouldn't be bothered by all that; we would rather try and execute our plan in the middle," he said.

Anyhow, the Australia skipper didn't hold himself back from praising Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma for their performance in the first Test. "Zaheer especially was good with the old ball, but I think we handled them well. We crossed 400-run mark in the first innings and were again comfortable in the second innings as well," he said.

The Aussie skipper signed off with a word of praise for Sachin Tendulkar. "He thoroughly deserves the record and we will certainly congratulate him as and when he breaks it," he said.