Ponting glad after Kumble meeting

Perth, January 15:

Australia captain Ricky Ponting on Tuesday said he was glad to have held clear-the-air talks with India’s Anil Kumble after coming under intense pressure following the infamous Sydney Test.

Ponting, who faced calls to step down after the explosive events of Sydney, promised “appropriate” behaviour in the third Test starting here on Wednesday with both teams in the spotlight.

“I am really happy that Anil and I were able to sit down as two grown men and have a good chat about the whole thing,” he said. “I felt a lot happier after that meeting and I am sure Anil did too. “Both he and I have been under a lot of pressure this week and to get that meeting out of the way has been really good for both us and for the game.”

Ponting and Kumble met on Monday to defuse tensions between the teams after charges of racism and poor sportsmanship marred the second Test of the series. India dropped abusive language charges against spinner Brad Hogg in an apparent peace offering after the talks, brokered by ICC chief match referee Ranjan Madugalle.

Ponting said it was vital that both teams keep their emotions in check at the WACA ground, where Australia are chasing a record 17th consecutive Test win. The two captains also agreed to scrap a pre-series agreement for batsmen to accept fielders’ word on catches after it backfired spectacularly in Sydney. Andrew Symonds earned India’s wrath when he admitted knowing he was caught on 30 in the first innings before making 137 not out.

Australia will be without injured opener Matthew Hayden, who has a hamstring strain. Hayden will be replaced by uncapped Chris Rogers. Hogg also makes way for Shaun Tait as Australia go for four fast bowlers.

India looked set to drop Harbhajan Singh in favour of Irfan Pathan, despite a postponement to the off-spinner’s appeal against his racism ban until after the series.

Harbhajan received a three-Test suspension for allegedly calling Symonds a “monkey,” a claim India strenuously deny. The appeal will not be heard until after the fourth Test, the ICC said. Aggressive opener Virender Sehwag was also set to be recalled at the expense of Yuvraj Singh.