One of my best wins - Ponting
Australia skipper revels in dramatic Sydney triumph
Last Updated: 06/01/10 1:01pm
Ponting: controversial decision to bat first paid off...eventually
Ricky Ponting rated Australia's 36-run victory over Pakistan at the Sydney Cricket Ground as among the most satisfying of his 141-Test career.
"My shot this afternoon was very pathetic and it turned the game."
Mohammad Yousuf Quotes of the week
Australia dismissed Pakistan for 139 on a dramatic fourth day to cap an incredible turnaround in the second Test and open an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series.
While the home side have made a habit of snatching dramatic wins at the SCG in recent years - India and South Africa have been toppled late on the final day in the previous two Sydney Tests - Ponting claimed the most recent triumph was even more rewarding.
Australia were skittled for just 127 on the first day after Ponting chose to bat first and looked to be heading towards an ignominious defeat until Mike Hussey (134no) and Peter Siddle (38) put on 123 for the ninth wicket in their second innings.
That left Pakistan chasing a modest 176, a target that proved beyond the tourists thanks to the heroics of off-spinner Nathan Hauritz (5-53) and left-arm seamer Mitchell Johnson (3-27).
"I don't think anyone else in the world other than probably all the blokes inside our room thought we could win," said Ponting.
"The other (recent Sydney Tests) we've probably been in positions where we probably should have won the games.
"So this one, turning up today 80 runs ahead I think all of us in our change-room felt that if we could get 150 we were going to be right in the game.
"Where it ended up today was a sort of a difficult number I think for Pakistan to look at and try to chase.
"Those sort of totals are always hard to chase but what Huss and Sids did today and what the bowlers did and probably more importantly today what the fielders did ... those little things like that can be the difference between winning and losing the game."
Ponting conceded the furore surrounding his decision to bat first on a green wicket on the opening day had taken a toll on the entire team.
"It's been a pretty tough few days not only for me but the team," the Tasmanian added.
"We felt that we probably underperformed a little bit on the first day and as a captain and a top-order batter the last thing I want to do is bat on a wicket that I don't think we can make any runs on.
"So I backed us at the start of the game to make more in the first innings of the game than what I thought Pakistan could make in the last innings of the game.
"As it turns out we got 120-odd and then bowled them out for 139 in the last innings of the game. It just goes to show I guess how hard chasing runs in Test cricket is.
"What we've read over the last couple of days and what we've seen and heard on the news probably just steeled us all a little bit and just made us want to fight the game out as much as we can and prove that we're never out of the contest."
Pakistan captain Mohammad Yousuf accepted the blame for his side's disappointing second innings and conceded the lack of Test experience in the ranks was a major factor.
"I think they batted very well in the second innings and my shot this afternoon was very pathetic and it turned the game that shot," he said, referring to an aggressive drive he returned caught and bowled to Hauritz just after tea to depart for 19, the start of Pakistan's meltdown from 77-3 to 139 all out.
"I think otherwise we win the game, not easily but we (would) have won.
"We have to be professional, we have to perform ... we need to take the pressure, especially me I'm a very experienced player, while they're (team-mates) all young."
The final Test of the series starts in Hobart on January 14.