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Since 1st March, 1999
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Ready for reverse swing: Ponting

Mohali: Australia captain Ricky Ponting showered praise on Zaheer Khan for his stellar show with the old ball in the first Test of the series in Bangalore. In a press conference at the PCA Stadium on Thursday, Ponting said his batsmen will have separate plans to counter the reverse swing of the Indian pacers.

The following are excerpts

Mohali pitch

The pitch looks good… It’s not going to be a spinner’s paradise… It probably has slightly more pace and bounce than the other Indian pitches.

Controversial remarks from both captains

The Indians started all the talk… They are speaking quite a bit more… But we want to focus on the game.

Inexperience in the Australian side

There was a lot made of the inexperience factor coming here, but all those inexperienced guys showed they are more than capable of performing well at the international level. There’s no doubt it’s a bit easier for us guys who have played a bit, particularly in this part of the world.

On debutant Peter Siddle

He is a very lively fast bowler from Victoria. He knows the challenges of bowling to the experienced Indian batting order. He has a good pace and a good presence. He likes to keep it simple.

The spinners’ performance

See, a lot is being said about the lack of an experienced spinner in our side. But I am happy with the performance of Cameron White in the first Test. The Indian spinners also got very few wickets in Bangalore… It proves that the Bangalore pitch was no spinners’ paradise. I think we handled the Indian spinners quite well in Bangalore.

The threat from the Indian fast bowlers

Ishant and Zaheer really bowled well with the old ball… They used the reverse swing very well… Specially Zaheer. I think he was brilliant with the old ball.

Australia’s planning against reverse swing

See… When the ball starts swinging, the scoring rate goes down. We all have individual plans to combat reverse swing.

Clark missing out

I don’t think Clark’s missing out is a disaster. We’re competitive against any team in the world with whatever resources.

On Greg Chappell

He has been terrific for us… He has huge experience… As a captain, as a batsman and as a coach… His inside tips on some of the seniors in the Indian side have also been very handy. I enjoy talking to him.

If Kumble misses out

We have to prepare as if he is playing. We will see what happens tomorrow morning and plan accordingly.

On Sachin Tendulkar nearing the world record

(Grins) Hope he doesn’t get there. He is a great player… Everybody knows he is a great batsman… In the second innings in Bangalore, he showed he still has the hunger inside him. It will be great if he breaks the record. But our bowlers will try to stop him from doing so.

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