Ponting hails team’s fightback in Sydney

January 7th, 2009 - 8:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Jan 7 (IANS) Australian captain Ricky Ponting said his team has shown character in winning the dead rubber against South Africa and staying at the top of Test rankings.Australia, who entered the third Test after losing the series 0-2, could have gone down to second position in rankings had they lost the match.

Ponting rested his faith on a young side that was criticised for failing to inherit a glorious pedigree which dominated world cricket for more than a decade.

“We have not been that bad. We wanted to start 2009 on the right foot and we’ve done that,” Ponting said after beating South Africa by 103 runs at the Sydney Cricket Ground here Wednesday.

“I’m very proud of the way we bounced back. It’s always very hard in a series when you’re down 0-2. It says a lot about the character of the side to get off the canvas.”

“We can hold our own with any team. That’s a comforting position. Rankings are a nice talking point, but we want to know we can arrive in a series knowing we are capable of beating a team.”

South Africa will have to wait until the return series against Australia next month to have another crack at the official No. 1 Test ranking.

Australia endured tense moments as Makhaya Ntini and Dale Steyn stood resolutely and later captain Graeme Smith came out to bat with a broken hand to deny them victory. Mitchell Johnson finally took the last wicket when he bowled Smith.

“It was tense, my heart rate was up for much of the afternoon. It was great to come away with a hard-fought win. We thoroughly deserved to win this game.”

“It’s great to come away with a really hard-fought win, there’s no doubt that through the course of the five days we’ve had the better of this Test.”

“It’s very pleasing for me to see some of the young guys come into the team for this game and start off with a win… this is what you always hope for the younger guys coming in.”

He also defended the side from the losses. “It could have easily been a 2-1 result our way as well,” he said.

“There’s been a lot of negativity around us. This can only be a really positive thing for us. So it’s been a really rewarding period for the young guys in particular.”

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