Need to address bowling at death, says relieved Ponting

Ricky Ponting... In full cry

“The fact that some of our players joined us last night and some a day before did hinder our preparations and team tactics,” he said after Australia’s thrilling four-run victory. “Three of the guys got in last night after half past eight and we took the team bus to the ground at seven in the morning. That hardly gave us any time to discuss plans, and that makes this victory all the more special,” he added.

The right-hander, who himself played a crucial part in the match with a flowing 74, said his side deserved to win the match. “We played well enough to win the game. I would have been disappointed if we hadn’t crossed the line after having largely played well through the course of the game. I think it will be a good learning curve for a few of the guys. Probably it was good for (Peter) Siddle, who bowled the last over. He has never been in a position like that before. I am happy to be 1-0 up.”

Ponting admitted his bowlers’ performance in the last 10 overs was below par. “Harbhajan didn’t take the game away from us, though he did come close. Our bowling in the last ten overs wasn’t up to the mark. I don’t think we can be that bad again but yeah, it was bad,” he offered.

The 34-year-old agreed that India held the edge going into the final over, from which they needed nine to win. “I knew it would be an entertaining over. Of course things were in their favour in the last over after they scored 20 in the earlier over, but a couple of good balls helped us and Siddle was calm and composed. That over will help him in the long run,” he opined.

Cruising at one stage, Australia looked set to post more than 300, but the batting power play yielded just 33 runs. “At one stage, we thought we might score more than 292 but a few wickets in the power play slowed us down. Of course, there is room for improvement before game two,” Ponting remarked.

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