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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > News > Report

Ponting all praise for Lee, Bichel

Ashish Magotra in Port Elizabeth | March 12, 2003 11:58 IST

Australia captain Ricky Ponting was all smiles after his team's come-form-behind victory over New Zealand in the Super Six encounter at St George's Park, Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.

The 96-run victory, which looked rather easy in the end, extended Australia's winning streak to 14 matches.

"We have a lot of good players and we are a good team. We gave ourselves a chance to win by fighting and posting a decent total. 208 is not a bad total," said Ponting.

The Port Elizabeth wicket though is matter for concern. It assists the bowlers far too much.

"The wicket today was better than the one we played on against England. It was damp in the morning and yesterday too. It is not a great one-day wicket but it was okay. A score between 220 and 250 is a good score here. If you post a total like that, chasing will always be tough." Ponting opined.

Andy Bichel, who shared a vital 101-run partnership with Michael Bevan, said they were just looking to bat as long as they could.

"We wanted to bat out the fifty overs. Not take too many risks and bat out the overs. Towards the end, Brett Lee came in and took our score over 200."

Bichel feels his game is improving. "No doubt that I am improving. I have become more consistent and as I am playing more games with the team. I am getting more relaxed and comfortable in the middle."

Ponting was all praise for Bichel. "His attitude has always been outstanding. He is a great team man... the kind of player you want in the team. He always gives his best with the bat and ball."

Brett Lee's success with the old ball made one wonder if Ponting would now use him later in the innings rather than as an opening bowler.

"Brett is a strike-bowler. He has opened the bowling and taken wickets. He has come late in the innings and taken wickets at that stage as well. He has been off form opening the bowling but he will come good. New ball or old ball, he always takes wickets," said Ponting.

There was a slight altercation between Ponting and Chris Cairns on the field, but the Aussie skipper dismissed the incident as 'just friendly banter between the two of us'.

Asked about the upcoming game against Kenya, Ponting said one of the teams greatest strengths about his team is they never look too far ahead.

"Maybe we will give a few players a rest against Kenya. We are all pretty keyed into the game. We have been careful with how we have been preparing for the game. We make sure that we take some time off from cricket to make  sure we are fresh for our matches."

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