Mar 04, 2008 at 11:08pm IST

'India deserve to go home with the trophy'

Brisbane: A subdued Australian skipper Ricky Ponting acknowledged that India deserved to win the Commonwealth Bank Series.

"All credit to MS Dhoni and the Indian team for the way they have played in the last week and the two finals. Certainly they deserve to go home with the Commonwealth Trophy," Ponting said after the nine-run loss to India at the Gabba in Brisbane on Tuesday.

Ponting, however, did not offer any excuse for the defeat and admitted that his team could not put up a good show in both the finals.

WHAT'S WRONG? Ricky Ponting's team failed to live up to its reputation of coming good in big matches.

"I think the level of our cricket has dropped off. We haven't played as well in the last week as in the league games. That’s disappointing and we did the same thing last year. So we may have to look at the way we go about things at the start of the tournament, through the tournament and the finals to see if we can actually save a bit of the momentum for the end of the series. We have certainly stumbled at the last stage of the series once again and you can't take any thing away from India. They have dominated us in the last week and congratulations to them," the Australian skipper said.

Asked by former Australian captain Mark Taylor if the off-field controversies had affected the team, Ponting said that in the last week or so things had quietened down and still the team had lost.

"All that (off-field controversies) had gone down last to last week. But we played our worst cricket in last couple of games," he said.

About India producing surprise players, Ponting said Ishant Sharma and Praveen Kumar did an outstanding job for their team.

"Ishant Sharma was very good in the series and Praveen Kumar also came good in the last couple of games. Ishant's presence was vital for the team but others made up well for his absence," he said.

(With input from Agencies)