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'Major challenge to revive Aussies'

AFP
Dec 07, 2010 at 12:55pm IST

Adelaide: A downcast Ricky Ponting says he faces one of his greatest challenges as captain and batsman to get beleaguered Australia back into the Ashes series against England.

Australia suffered their first home innings defeat to England in 24 years as Andrew Strauss's team romped to victory in the second Adelaide Test on Tuesday to go one ahead in the series with three Tests to play.

Among a myriad of Australian concerns is Ponting's poor batting return with a first-ball duck and nine runs in this Test after 10 and 51 not out in Brisbane.

Major challenge to revive Aussies: Ponting

Australia suffered their first home innings defeat to England in 24 years in the second Ashes Test at Adelaide.

"It's certainly a great challenge for me," Ponting said. "Don't worry about winning the games. I've got to make some runs, it's as simple as that.

"To make nine runs in two innings on that wicket in this game is nowhere near good enough for me and my expectations are a lot higher than that.

"There's a great challenge for me to score runs but there's a great challenge for me to captain the side well in Perth and give the guys the best chance to get our way back into the series.

"We have to win two games and we have to play good cricket to win a single game."

Ponting has a real job on his hands to rally his men for the third Test in Perth, which starts on December 16.

The experienced skipper, who has lost two Ashes series as captain, conceded that England had "out-batted, out-bowled and out-fielded" Australia during the entire second Test.

"No doubt it's a bad loss for us, there's no hiding that fact, an innings and 71 runs having won the toss on a good Adelaide wicket. It probably says it all," he said.

"There was no lack of endeavour or fight in our guys, it's been our skills and maybe our thought processes at different times that have let us down."

Australia will almost certainly make changes for Perth, with senior opening batsman Simon Katich likely to be out for the rest of the series with a torn Achilles tendon.

Tyro spinner Xavier Doherty's place is also likely to come under serious review after he was belted for 1-158 off 27 overs, while inconsistent number six Marcus North again underachieved with scores of 26 and 22 after his one in Brisbane.

Ponting said the Perth squad will be named later this week.

"We have faced a lot of challenges and the guys have stood up to those challenges, but we haven't been good enough to win them. That's the bottom line," he said.

"Look, we're all under pressure, international sport is all about being under pressure, it's how you deal with those situations."

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