Australia must be at best in India: Ponting

MUMBAI: Australia captain Ricky Ponting says his side will need to maintain its dominant form in one-day cricket if it is to beat India in the series starting Sunday. "We (Australia and India) are the number one and two teams in the world and all points to an entertaining and good contest over the next few weeks," Ponting told reporters Wednesday.

"India is a very good and strong one-day team and we are not underestimating them." After losing the Ashes test series in England, Australia beat the hosts 6-1 in the following one-day series and then went on to successfully defend its Champions Trophy title in South Africa.

"We have played some excellent one-day cricket over the last few months. We need to keep improving and need to be at our best right through the series," Ponting said.

Ponting, 34, is the most experienced player left in an Australian team the has been reshaped since the retirement of greats Shane Warne, Matthew Hayden, Glen McGrath and Adam Gilchrist. "A lot of responsibility is on my shoulders as the number three batsman in the team.

It's really a big challenge to play against India," he said. "I have a good record in one-day cricket in India as compared to tests.

I have played some of my best one-day cricket over the last few months." Australia defeated India 4-2 in the one-day series when both teams played in India two years ago.

"We have always enjoyed playing in India and our rivalry over the last few years has been growing which is good for the world game," Ponting said. India surprisingly has cut down its coaching staff and fired bowling coach Venkatesh Prasad and fielding coach Robin Singh after the Champions Trophy.

However, Ponting believes India's players can adjust accordingly. "A lot of coaching can be done among the players themselves.

The younger players can learn a lot from the experienced guys," he said. The seven games will be played at three-day intervals, except for a two-day gap between games three and four.