Ponting lavishes praise on pacers

By Abhishek Roy, IANS
Friday, February 25, 2011

NAGPUR - Australia captain Ricky Ponting said Friday if his pace battery continues to perform well, the team can overcome any oppostion in the World Cup.

Australian fast bowlers Mitchell Johnson and Shaun Tait wrecked the New Zealand batting as the four-time world champions cruised to a seven wicket victory in Jamtha here.

“It was a good game for us today. New Zealand are a very good One-day side. We said right at the start of the tournament, if our fast bowlers bowl as well as they can, it does not matter who we play. They could have actually been better with the new ball. The fact that they took wickets early meant I did not have to fall back on Shane Watson through the day,” said Ponting.

Put in to bat on a moist track, New Zealand were 63 for seven in the 17th over and could never recover.

Ponting said Australia had the match in their grip early and that mattered the most.

“We took early control of the match and they never recovered. The fast bowlers swung it well and I think we are getting better with every match,” he said.

Ponting was also happy with his top order, especially Shane Watson (62) and Brad Haddin (55), who chased down the runs quickly.

“The top order played well compared to what they did against Zimbabwe,” he said.

Ponting also admitted that the injury to fast bowler Doug Bollinger, who has been ruled out of the World Cup with an ankle injury, was a big blow.

“It is a disappointment for the team. If he bowls well, Bollinger can be as good as anybody in the team. We will also have a replacement soon. John Hastings is a good option but we have several fast bowlers in Australia, who are waiting for a chance to play in the team,” he said.

Meanwhile, Man of the Match Mitchell Johnson, who bagged four for 33, said he was happy with his performance.

“I tried to bang it hard and target the off-stump. I am happy with my performance. I enjoy bowling as a first change and thats what the team demands. I gave the team two major breakthrough and thats what matters for me, he said.

Johnson said that being dropped from the team during the Ashes series taught him a lesson.

It was tough for me, but it taught me a lesson. I worked hard at the nets and have moved on, he said.

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