'We'll play the best aggressive cricket'
Trying to salvage his team's image, Australian skipper Ricky Ponting says his team is not as bad as it is projected to be.
Taking a potshot at the Indian team for their "new aggressive outlook", Australian captain Ricky Ponting on Thursday said his team would continue to play good cricket and leave the hosts to do all the talking in the ongoing one-day cricket series.
"They are the ones who have come out and made all the statements since we've been here, this new India and the new aggressive outlook, the way they are going to play. We will go and play the best aggressive cricket we can and leave all the talking to the Indians," Ponting told reporters on the eve of the third ODI.
"That is not the way they generally play their cricket, so they have put on some sort of a brave face. We have played some great cricket. I am looking forward to playing some better cricket," he added.
Ponting, however, sought to downplay the verbal duels which overshadowed the game in the second match, saying none of the teams crossed their limits.
"It is pretty clear to me nobody stepped out of the line. I think both teams were right on the limit the other day and the referee made that pretty clear to us after the game. Both sides were right on the edge.
"As long as cricket is played in the right way and everyone knows where the line in the sand is, it is okay. It is up to us as a playing group and the two captains to make sure everyone is playing in the spirit of the game," he said.
But the Australian skipper felt that sledging incidents were often blown out of proportion.
"There has been a lot more made about the sledging type stuff over the years than is necessary. Probably even now we are adding more fuel than needs be added to. Perception is an amazing thing.
"In the first two games, there hasn't been too much difference in the aggression shown by both teams. It was a bit more body language and stuff by the Indians. That was probably to be expected, the talk about how much they want to take us on and stuff like that. That hasn't surprised us in the Australian team."
He also tried to salvage his team's image, saying it was not as bad as it was projected to be.
"If we were ever as bad as everyone said we are or had been than we would have had a lot more Australian players reported, especially in the last couple of years."
"I have been on the bench and I don't think anyone has been reported for sledging or anything like that. I expect our guys to play cricket in a very aggressive and positive sort of manner."
"I wasn't there the other day, but there were a few things on the field which he (Harbhajan) was involved in one. If you look at both his record and Sreesanth's record over the last two years, they have been involved in a lot of those altercations," he said.
Ponting, however, refused to give details on what Harbhajan Singh said during the match in Kochi.
"Good luck to him. I really don't care to tell the truth. He has got plenty to say on the field and whenever someone says something back to him he is the first one to run away from it. We play our cricket in a nice aggressive way. We play within the rules and the spirit of the game."
"Aggression doesn't mean sledging or giving personal barrage, it is having a presence on the field and playing good, aggressive cricket," he added.
"The match referee brought both captains in individually, both me and Adam and Dhoni went first. He made us known there were a few things he wasn't that pleased with. And that it was upto the captains to make sure it didn't continue through the series."