Sunday, June 27, 2010

Aussies to Play for Pride

Australia captain Ricky Ponting fell on the crutch used by many a beaten England captain when he urged his team to play for "pride" as the one-day series against their old rivals was lost.

The world champions top-order, for the third time in a row, failed to fire as Australia were bowled out for a mere 212 in the third one-day international at Old Trafford on Sunday.

An attack led by left-arm quick Doug Bollinger and featuring recalled fast bowler Shaun Tait, who between them shared six wickets, then reduced England, cruising at 185 for three, to 203 for nine.

But Tim Bresnan`s 14 not out saw England to a one-wicket win with five balls to spare and gave the hosts an unsurpassable 3-0 lead in the five match campaign as Australia suffered their first one-day series and tournament loss in eight contests.

"What we have to do now is show a bit of pride in our performances in the last two games and try and salvage whatever we can," Ponting told reporters ahead of Wednesday`s match at the Oval.
"It`s a bit of the same old, same old from the first two games, we just didn`t get enough runs again," the star batsman, stumped for just three in four wickets for England off-spinner Graeme Swann, the man-of-the-match, said.

Openers Shane Watson (61) and Tim Paine (44) got Australia off a fine start before the innings fell away and a blunt Ponting added: "Nought for 75 and all out 212 is not good enough - you`re not going to win many games doing that.

"If there`s a positive to be taken out of the first three games, it`s that we`ve stuck to out task pretty well with the ball."

While the bowling attack may be depleted, Australia`s top order, with the exception of wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, is at full strength and Paine, the gloveman`s deputy, was the second top-scorer yesterday.

"We`ve played five games on tour now, so you`d like to think that we`d be making runs on a more consistent basis than we are," Ponting said.

"You`ve got to give England some credit for the way they`ve bowled through the series so far. They`ve executed really well.

"Their spinners today did a terrific job on a wicket that suited the slower bowlers. I thought (Michael) Yardy and Swann were both very good for them. That built pressure on our batters and we got out."

One consolation for Australia was the form of Tait, playing his first one-day international since February last year.

The 27-year-old quit first-class and Test cricket to protect a suspect shoulder injury not helped by his slingshot bowling action and so concentrate on Twenty20, where he is limited to four overs an innings, and plays in the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) for the Rajasthan Royals.

But with only his fourth ball he bowled Craig Kieswetter for nought with a ferocious 85mph yorker that uprooted the opener`s middle stump.

Ponting, sensibly, used Tait in short spells and was so nearly rewarded with a stunning victory.

"That was pretty much how we used him in the (2007) World Cup as well," Ponting recalled.

"A couple of overs with the new ball, bring him back in the middle or bring him back to new batters, because he`s so dangerous for new batters when they first come to the crease.

"He`s only been playing Twenty20 cricket for a long time, so I was mindful of not bowling him in too many overs in one spell."

Ponting added: "Having someone like that, who`s got that firepower and that bit of unpredictability in your team, is always nice to have.

"It tends to lift the rest of the group as well. It`s no fluke that we had a bit more energy in the field.
"I thought that with the exception of a couple of wides, everything else was very, very good. It was a welcome return for Shaun."

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