Ponting out to exploit England 'cracks' in Ashes

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/P/Ponting1-Ashes09.jpg' class='caption'> Australia captain Ricky Ponting believes his side can take advantage of the &quot;cracks&quot; in England's top-order during the upcoming Ashes series.

Updated: August 26, 2010 11:49 IST
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Australia captain Ricky Ponting believes his side can take advantage of the "cracks" in England's top-order during the upcoming Ashes series.

Ponting has been trying to rile England with a series of bullish statements from his squad's pre-India tour training camp in Queensland, including a suggestion Australia could repeat their 5-0 Ashes rout of 2006/07 in the forthcoming Ashes, which get underway in Brisbane in November.

England have not won a Test series in Australia since 1986/87 and Ponting turned his attention Thursday to their top-order batting.

Andrew Strauss's men have collapsed several times in their ongoing series against Pakistan, notably at The Oval last week where the tourists won by four wickets to reduce England's lead to 2-1 ahead of the fourth and final Test starting at Lord's here on Thursday.

Strauss, Kevin Pietersen and Paul Collingwood are all averaging under 20 against Pakistan and Ponting told Sky Sports on Thursday: "There are probably a few little cracks starting to open up with England, particularly with the batting side of things."

England have an Australian bowling coach in David Saker but Ponting added: "You can have all the coaching you want - it is what you do on the field that wins you matches."

Meanwhile senior Australia batsman Michael Hussey said Ponting's remarks concerning a whitewash had been misinterpreted and that the team could regain the Ashes without retired bowling greats Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath.

"We go into every Test trying to win. That's what Ricky means," Hussey told reporters in a teleconference on Thursday.

"I don't think he's making any claims were going to win 5-0...

"But our aim is to win every Test."

Hussey added: "A lot of legends left the team a few years ago, but we've been able to keep a core group of players together for a good couple of years now and we've been slowly building.

"We've built up a good base of fast-bowling stock. It holds us in very good stead.

"We've got the pain of losing last time as well."

Ponting, 35, was on the losing side when England regained the Ashes 2-1 in Britain last year and the star batsman has had an up and down time of it late, with Australia bowled out for just 88 by Pakistan in a three-wicket loss in the second Test at Headingley last month.

But, with Australia defending their World Cup title in Asia after the Ashes, Ponting said he was not about to call time on his brilliant career.

"It was probably my most inconsistent 12 months last year, and I have to change that as a number three batter," he admitted.

"I'd like to think (I can play) a lot more. Realistically, I will not do that. But I have not even thought about retirement.

"It is all dependent on how well I play. I am enjoying the game as much as I ever have.

"With the challenge I have for the next eight months, I could not ask for anything better."

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