Ponting has no Edgbaston hang-ups

BIRMINGHAM: Australia captain Ricky Ponting insisted returning to Edgbaston, where the third Ashes Test starts on Thursday, held no bad memories for him after England's dramatic win here in 2005.

Four years go, England won by two runs in one of the most thrilling finishes in Test history to level the series at 1-1.

Victory provided the springboard for their 2-1 Ashes series win - England's first in 18 years.

The morning of the first day four years ago saw Australia lose Glenn McGrath to a freak injury when the fast bowler trod on a stray cricket ball on the outfield.

But despite that Ponting, who won the toss, still decided to field first only for England to score 407 runs on the first day.

Come the last day of the match Australia needed 107 more runs to win with just three wickets standing.

But, thanks mainly to Shane Warne (42) and Brett Lee (43 not out), they got within touching distance before Michael Kasprowicz, McGrath's replacement, was caught behind off the glove.

Ponting, just one of three Australian survivors set to play on Thursday from the 2005 team - the others are fellow batsmen Michael Clarke and Simon Katich - told reporters here on Wednesday. "At the end of the day I don't think we were that disappointed coming away from here last time.

"It was a great Test match and one in which, during the majority of the game we weren't at our best but one in which we almost pulled what would have been of one of the great Test wins ever.

"So if anything, I think we've got some fond memories of 2005 here just because it was such a great game of cricket."

But whereas four years ago Australia were 1-0 up, now they find themselves 1-0 down with three to play after their 115-run loss to England at Lord's.

"It's about righting the wrongs from Lord's and making sure you see a better Australian performance than you did last time at Lord's," Ponting said.

England too are much changed from 2005 with only captain Andrew Strauss, recalled batsman Ian Bell and all-rounder Andrew Flintoff set to play this week although fast bowler Stephen Harmison is in the 12-man squad from which their third Test side will be picked.