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We will be on song from start: Ricky

The Australian captain, Ricky Ponting, also took questions from the media. Here goes:

On Team India

India has been a very good opponent in the last few series’... We’ve played some very entertaining and tight, tough cricket... I don’t expect this series to be any different... They played well the last time (2003-04) and will be backing themselves... However, we’ve also learnt more about India, particularly its senior players... Hopefully, we can adapt what we’ve learnt to our game plan for this series.

On India relying rather heavily on the senior pros

It’s the senior guys who, series after series, stand up and get the job done...

On the MCG wicket

It’s very, very damp... That’s why we haven’t decided on our team.

On the possibility of an all-pace attack

That’s a possibility if it remains damp... Such conditions aren’t unusual here at this time of the year... I remember one of the Tests against South Africa started half-an-hour late...

On spearhead Brett Lee

I think he’s bowling at his best... I’m confident we’ve got the attack to take 20 wickets in every match... We’ve got the variation and skill, with Brett leading with his express pace.

On whether Australia’s strategy will be different from the one employed on the last tour by India

We probably over-attacked some of the batsmen then... You’ve got to have more than one plan in place... We gave away too many runs in Adelaide and probably weren’t quick to change things around... Conditions will influence strategy... If the ball is swinging around then it won’t make sense to bowl short... One will have to pitch it up...

On whether the Australians raise their level of intensity when up against India

We raise ourselves to the max in every Test we play... If I look back to last season’s Ashes, then we were as well-prepared as I’ve ever seen any cricket team... At this moment, there’s a similar type of feel around the group. In fact, there’s a terrific feel around the group... It’s a Boxing Day start and if you add all the things, then you can be assured we’ll be on song from the start.

On the Indians having won their last Test series overseas, in England, in the summer

Yeah, that was one of their more famous victories and our batters have had a good look at Zaheer (Khan) and RP (Singh)... Had a look at what they can do... The bowlers played a bigger role in India’s success there.

On his own preparation

I don’t go by stats and so on... Those things don’t play on my mind when I’m focused on a series.

Finally, on scathing comments from Ian Chappell and Shane Warne

Everyone has his opinion and I’ve had a taste of that before... All this stuff has gone on way too long as it is and there’s no point adding fuel to the fire.

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