Added burden for struggling Ponting

Added burden for struggling Ponting

Veteran to lead hosts in todays tie

 A familiar figure will lead Australia on to the field when they take on Sri Lanka at the SCG on Friday – Ricky Ponting.

The Tasmanian resigned from captaincy early last year after failed campaigns in the Ashes and World Cup. But he has been thrust back to the hot seat after regular skipper Michael Clarke was ruled out of Friday’s game with a low-grade hamstring niggle.

Ponting admitted that he wasn’t thinking of captaincy, and was preparing vice-captain David Warner for the job. “As soon as the game finished in Adelaide I actually dragged Warner over and made him sit with me for a few minutes. I said to him then 'make sure you've got yourself ready to captain Australia in a couple of days' time',” Ponting said.
 “Then as soon as the decision was made he was on the phone to me straight away saying 'don't worry about me, you better make sure you're ready to captain the team', so we've had a bit of a chat about it. Yes I'm excited about leading the team again, but hopefully it's only for a very short period of time,” Ponting said.

After a very good Test series against India, Ponting has been struggling for runs in the triangular series. But he wasn’t unduly worried about it. “I've been doing pretty much the same stuff this series, as I was doing in the Test series. We're playing Friday-Sunday right through this tournament, so it's a little bit hard to get some momentum going when you've got that big break between games,” he said.

Against India at Adelaide, Australia struggled for sharpness in all departments of the game, and Ponting said it’s an area that needed urgent attention.

“We started this series really well, and our last two performances probably haven't been at the level that we'd expect of ourselves so we have to make sure that by the end of training today we've got ourselves back to a level that's going to be good enough to dominate the remaining games,” he said.

In contrast, the Lankans played some smart cricket against India at Adelaide to eke out a tie that kept them alive in the tournament. However, skipper Mahela Jaywardene said the team needed to be at their best to get a favourable result against the world’s No 1 ranked ODI team.

“We take it in a positive way but we realise we did make mistakes (against India)," Jayawardene said. "We were not ruthless enough to finish games off in this tournament, and that is a disappointment. We need to make sure, when we get into those situations, we finish games off and get that winning habit going. That's something we've spoken about and hopefully we can get that right tomorrow,” Jayawardene said.

If both the teams can rectify a few grey areas then the Friday evening crowd will get to see a sumptuous treat.