Australia wary of India: Ponting

Agence France Presse

Mumbai, October 21

Australia hope to continue their winning streak when they clash with India in a seven-match one-day series starting on Sunday, captain Ricky Ponting said.

The world champions thrashed England 6-1 in September before winning the eight-nation Champions Trophy in South Africa earlier this month to regain their No 1 ranking in one-day cricket. “We have been playing very good one-day cricket for the last few months, beginning from the England tour, and we want to continue with that,” Ponting told a pre-series media conference today. “We could not have done better than what we did in the last few one-day games. But we have a fresh set of challenges here.”

India, ranked second behind Australia, were knocked out in the first round of the Champions Trophy, but will be boosted by the return of hard-hitting batsmen Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh from injuries. “India have a very good and strong one-day team and we are not underestimating them,” Ponting said. “We are the No 1 and No 2 teams in the world and this points to an entertaining and good contest over the next few weeks. We just need to keep improving and be at our best right through the series.”

Ponting conceded that he will have to shoulder additional responsibility in the absence of his deputy Michael Clarke due to a back injury. Also missing are wicket-keeper Brad Haddin, batsman Callum Fergusson and seamer Nathan Bracken. “The challenge will be how our middle-order batsmen cope up with playing spin bowling over the next few weeks,” the Australian captain said. “(Michael) Hussey has played a lot of cricket here. Shane Watson and Tim Paine play spin well. I am confident the team would do a very good job.”

Ponting is the third highest run-getter in one-day cricket with 12,044 runs, behind India’s Sachin Tendulkar (16,903) and Sri Lankan Sanath Jayasuriya (13,377). Ponting finished with the highest aggregate of 228 runs from five matches in the Champions Trophy and was named the player of the tournament.

“I have played some of my best one-day cricket over the last few months,” he said “A lot of responsibility is on my shoulders as the No 3 batsman in the team.” The first one-dayer will be played in Vadodara on Sunday.