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Cricket | SA Team

Ponting looks to end duck streak



Ricky Ponting, like all previous captains of national teams, finds life without the burdens of leadership a lot less stressful – and much easier to smile about.

The 37-year-old, who turns 38 next month, was asked about the fact that has made three ducks in his last three tests against South Africa – and four single-figure scores in the last five innings.

“It would suggest they've got it over me of late, although there are seven or eight hundreds in another column there as well that you probably haven't brought up!” Ponting said in Adelaide on Tuesday ahead of the second test beginning on Thursday.

“But of late they definitely have got it over me.”

Scores of eight and nought in Cape Town a year ago were followed by another nought and a fighting 62 at the Wanderers. He made a five-ball duck in his only innings at the Gabba last week.

“I was disappointed last week with all the work I put in pre-season and to make a little error like that and have your game over and done with in five balls was disappointing. But it's a fresh start this week, I've got to make sure there's plenty of runs in the column this week.

"I've prepared well, will top-up tomorrow and when it's my turn to bat I'll make sure I'm one of the guys who contributes more than last week,” Ponting said.

“One of the things I brought up in the team meeting yesterday was that there were three guys who did the majority of the batting last week and we've got to make sure everyone's contributing if we want to beat a good South African team.”

Ponting was loathe to add to the criticism of the Proteas that they allowed the game to "drift" on the fourth day by lowering the intensity of their attack with the very occasional spinners of Alviro Petersen, Hashim Amla and Graeme Smith.

“They're a well drilled and a pretty structured side, they know the way they need to work to give themselves a chance to win games. If you're the No 1 team in the world you make things happen in test cricket. They've won a lot of test matches of late, so they're obviously making things happen,” Ponting said.

“The way our batsmen played last week really didn't give them much of a chance to keep pressing the game forward. One of our strengths as an Australian team over the years has been our ability to keep the game going forward.

"We're a team that don't play many drawn games, weather permitting. There's normally results in games that we play, and hopefully there'll be a result in this game as well.”

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