Bowlers' performance worries Ponting

Australia may have showed enough resilience to save the third Test but their bowlers' inability to take 20 wickets is something that keeps Ponting worried.

updated: November 02, 2008 14:03 IST
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New Delhi:

Australia may have showed enough resilience to save the third Test against India but their bowlers' inability to take 20 wickets is something that keeps skipper Ricky Ponting worried.

Ponting was happy with the bowlers' performance in the second innings when Brett Lee and company managed to contain India's in-form batsmen but felt it was still not enough if the Aussies are to win the Nagpur Test to level the series.

"It's certainly a challenge for us. In this match, we proved that our batting is upto the scratch and we have played very well here. Now the challenge is to take 20 wickets," Ponting said.

The Australian skipper hinted off-spinner Jason Krejza might replace leg-spinner Cameron White, who looked pretty ordinary both in Mohali and here.

"Guys in the sidelines would be looked in. In Nagpur, you have a brand new stadium and I don't expect the pitch not to be like the 2004 (grassy) pitch. We would definitely look at Jason there. He came very close to playing the Test here," Ponting said.

Ponting feels though the pacers did a better job in the second innings, they still need to do better. "Their approach was definitely better in the second innings but I guess it was bit late by then. But still, it is really a good sign for us. Probably, they did things differently," he said.

Ponting has been less than impressed by Lee's performance in the series so far and even ignored the pacer for the entire morning session on day four of the Mohali Test. According to Ponting, Lee finally has started showing signs of hitting form.

"Lee was quite intense today and his pace was also a lot better. Overall, it was a pretty good game for us after losing the toss," Ponting said.

Talking about the Nagpur Test, Ponting said key would be to adjust fast to the conditions there."We understand that the pitch would be new to both us and India. We expect it to assist the pacer in the first couple of days before starting to spin. Hopefully, they would not win toss again and score 600-plus again," he quipped.

Ponting said India were pretty defensive today and didn't push for a win.

"To be honest, I didn't see any purpose in their batting (even after tea). Yesterday, the chose to sent Ishant (Sharma as nightwatchman) and today they were not trying for a win. It was actually we, pushing for a victory. We tried very hard, a few more wickets and we could have pushed for a win," Ponting said.

The Australia captain also sought to play down Mitchell Johnson's verbal volleys at VVS Laxman during the match.

"There was not real malice," Ponting said.

"The umpires did talk to me, they said it happened thrice in an over and told me to get a brake to that," the Australian said.

Overall, Ponting felt it was a satisfying outing for his team. "Lot of good things emerged from the match. We did the hard work for the first one-and-half-days and stood up to the pressure. (Anil) Kumble's injury certainly didn't help India but overall, we played well against their spinners.

"We played well but if we are to win a Test match, we have to play even better," added the Australian.