Ponting happy to be back at Headingley

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/p/ponting1-ashes09.jpg' class='caption'> Ricky Ponting will return to the scene of his first Test century when he attempts to lead Australia to an eighth straight win against Pakistan.

Updated: July 20, 2010 15:12 IST
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Ricky Ponting will return to the scene of his first Test century when he attempts to lead Australia to an eighth straight win against Pakistan at Headingley starting on Wednesday.

It was at Headingley in 1997 where Ponting scored 127, the first of his 39 Test hundreds and he now averages over 105 at the ground.

The 35-year-old Ponting is now the senior player in an Australia side bidding for a 2-0 series win over Pakistan after last week's 150-run win in the first Test at Lord's.

Ponting, speaking at Headingley on Tuesday, said: "I made my first ever Test match hundred here and when you have success at certain grounds you have a good feeling about them when you come back.

"Over the years the pace and bounce here is generally pretty good. We know the ball goes around a little bit.

"At different times there have been great challenges for batsmen out here - and I would like to think I can lift myself whenever there is a challenge."

Ponting was a key member of an Australia side featuring the likes of cricket greats Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne and Adam Gilchrist that swept all before them in the 1990s and early 2000s.

But that stellar trio have all since retired from Tests.

"There isn't a team in the world that compares to that team we had five or six years ago.

"It is arguably the best cricket team that has ever played the game.

"What I think we have got around the group at the moment is a really good balance of youth and experience. Tim Paine and Steven Smith, Doug Bollinger and Marcus North are still quite new.

"One of the great strengths of these guys at the moment is that they are not happy with what we have done. We might have won seven in a row but we want to make it eight this week by putting our best foot forward."

Pakistan hope to attract plenty of support from the local Asian community but Ponting is unlikely to find himself being barracked by the 'Barmy Army' England supporters group as was the case during last year's Ashes.

Even so Ponting hopes the Barmy Army will travel in force to Australia in November for England's Ashes defence, despite an unfavourable exchange rate.

"They absolutely add to the atmosphere," Ponting said. "Even though they booed me at every opportunity last year I have said for a long time that they are the best supporters we play in front of.

"They are so passionate about the game, they love supporting their own and whatever they do towards us is generally in a light-hearted sort of manner. "Last time there was talk about there being up to 50,000 supporters in Australia - we will see how it pans out this year but it adds to the contest, I guess.

"Hopefully at some stage in Australia we will outnumber them and get a bit of support as well.

"Let's hope a good number of English do travel out and watch what I think will be a great series."

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