Australia receive ICC Test Championship mace

March 25th, 2009 - 8:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Johannesburg, March 25 (IANS) Australian captain Ricky Ponting received the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Test Championship mace for his team’s top finish in table in the 2008-09 calendar year.
Australia’s dominance at the top was shaken last month when South Africa beat them at their den. South Africa needed to win the home series to dislodge Australia from the numero-uno position before the award’s cut-off date of April 1.

But Ponting’s men came back with vengeance to win the series and consolidated their stay at the helm of Test Championship table.

South African captain Graeme Smith took the ICC ODI Championship shield for finishing at the top of the table in the shorter version.

Ponting accepted the mace and $175,000. He also picked up a cheque for $75,000 for coming second in the ODI Championship on the same date.

“This is a tribute to the hard work of the players and the back-room staff and it’s very pleasing for us. After losing the home series against South Africa, we were under pressure. We came here to make sure we lifted our game and improve. That was our focus.

“I think the way we performed in the first two Tests of the series was as good as we have played in a long time and it gave me more pleasure than any other series I have been a part of either as a player or a captain,” Ponting said.

Smith took possession of the shield and $175,000 for the ODI Champions. Besides, he received a cheque of $75,000 for coming second in the Test Championship on the April 1 cut-off.

“If you look back a couple of years we were probably fourth or fifth in both the Test and ODI rankings so to be second in the Test rankings and number-one in One-dayers is a great feeling and is testament to how far we have come.

“The hunger is there and we have shown that we can compete with Australia in both those formats of the game and I am optimistic that we can eventually lead both sets of rankings because we have the right plan and the right attitude at the moment.”

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