Aussies relishing Ashes adversity says Ponting

Updated: 04 August 2009 16:26 IST

Ponting saluted the resilience shown by batsmen Michael Clarke and Marcus North to guide his side to a draw here in the third Ashes Test at Edgbaston.

Aussies relishing Ashes adversity says Ponting

BIRMINGHAM:

Australia captain Ricky Ponting saluted the resilience shown by batsmen Michael Clarke and Marcus North to guide his side to a draw here in the third Ashes Test at Edgbaston.

Vice-captain Clarke made 103 not out, his 12th century in 50 Tests and second in as many matches and shared a stand of 185 with North (96) to make the game safe.

The duo had come together with Ashes-holders Australia just 48 runs in front at 161 for four and still in danger of defeat after Michael Hussey was caught behind for 64 off paceman Stuart Broad before lunch.

But by the time a draw was agreed Australia had moved on to 375 for five in their second, a lead of 262, with no time left for England to bat again in a match where bad weather effectively took out two days' worth of play.

This result still left England 1-0 up in the five-match series with two to play ahead of the start of Friday's fourth Test at Headingley but Ponting said: "We knew what job we had in hand this afternoon, we knew it would be hard work but the North and Clark partnership was pretty special. It was good to get through the game the way we did.

"After we lost all that time it was pretty evident there was only one team that could win but full credit to our bowlers, they stuck at it and stopped England getting too far ahead."

Ashes holders Australia are not used to being behind this far into a series against England but Ponting said: "All the guys in our dressing room don't mind this. I've always said about the Australia team that we play our best cricket in adversity."

England came into this match without star batsman Kevin Pietersen, out of the series with an Achilles problem and while key all-rounder Andrew Flintoff starred with the bat in their only innings at Edgbaston, the bowling hero of the 115-run second Test win at Lord's went wicketless in this match.

The injury-prone Flintoff, who has said this will be his last Test series, appeared to be struggling with a longstanding knee injury in the latter stages of this match.

Ponting said: "The injury was more visible over the past two days than at Lord's, I don't know what to make of it.

He was their best bowler at Lord's, the wicket and conditions here didn't suit his style as much.

"Having Pietersen and Flintoff out of their side would leave two pretty big gaps on the side. He went downhill pretty quickly in the course of this game with his injury."

But England captain Andrew Strauss said: "There's obviously some soreness there but nothing deteoriated. He needs to rest-up well because back-to-back Tests are hard for any bowlers."

England are due to name their fourth Test squad on Tuesday and Strauss added: "If he's fit to play we want to play him, if not not. "The Headingley Test is a massive Test.

If we win there, we win the Ashes, the same goes for both these last two games."



Topics : Cricket Sreesanth
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