Ponting hails Aussie victory as among their best

CAPTAIN Ricky Ponting rated Australia’s 36-run win over Pakistan in the second Test at the SCG among the most satisfying of his career.

The hosts dismissed Pakistan for 139 on a dramatic fourth day to cap an incredible triumph which few thought possible when the hosts posted just 127 runs in their first innings.

While Australia have made a habit of snatching dramatic victories at the SCG in recent years – having toppled India and South Africa late on the final day in the previous two Sydney Tests – Ponting claimed the most recent triumph was even more rewarding.

“I don’t think anyone else in the world other than probably all the blokes inside our room thought we could win,” said the Australia captain.

“The other (SCG Tests) we’ve probably been in positions where we probably should have won the games. So this one, turning up today 80 runs ahead, I think all of us in our change-room felt if we could get 150 we were going to be in the game.

“Where it ended up today was a sort of a difficult number I think for Pakistan to look at and try to chase.”

Pakistan needed 176 for victory, and Ponting said: “Those sort of totals are always hard to chase but what Huss and Sids (Michael Hussey and Peter Siddle, who put on 123 for the ninth wicket) did today and what the bowlers did and probably more importantly today what the fielders did... those little things can be the difference between winning and losing.”

Ponting conceded the furore surrounding his decision to bat first on a green SCG wicket on the opening day had taken a toll on the entire team. Although he could see the lighter side of his contentious decision after pulling off the unlikely triumph, the home captain stood by his brave call before admitting he is unlikely to ever choose to bowl first in a Test match again.

“It’s been a pretty tough few days not only for me but the team,” Ponting said.

“We felt that we probably under-performed a little bit on the first day and as a captain and a top-order batter, the last thing I want to do is bat on a wicket that I don’t think we can make any runs on.

“So I backed us at the start of the game to make more in the first innings of the game than what I thought Pakistan could make in the last innings of the game. As it turns out, we got 120-odd and then bowled them out for 139 in the last innings of the game. It just goes to show I guess how hard chasing runs in Test cricket is.

“What we’ve read over the last couple of days and what we’ve seen and heard on the news probably just steeled us all a little bit and just made us want to fight the game out as much as we can and prove that we’re never out of the contest.”

Shell-shocked Pakistan captain Mohammad Yousuf (19) accepted the blame for his side’s disappointing second innings before conceding his side’s lack of Test experience was a major factor.

“I think they batted very well in the second innings and my shot this afternoon was very pathetic and it turned the game, that shot,” he said, referring to an aggressive drive he returned caught and bowled to Nathan Hauritz just after tea. I think otherwise we win the game, not easily but we (would) have won.

“We have to be professional, we have to perform ... we need to take the pressure, especially me I’m a very experienced player, while they’re (team-mates) all young.”

The three-match series shifts to Hobart on January 14 with Australia holding an unassailable 2-0 advantage.

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