Ponting - Tough task ahead

Australia skipper has 'work cut out' to win NatWest series

Last Updated: 21/06/10 6:11pm

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Ponting: Hopes player will rise to challenge

Ponting: Hopes player will rise to challenge

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Ricky Ponting is not expecting a smooth ride when Australia commence the NatWest one-day series with England on Tuesday.

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The Aussie skipper will be looking for a second consecutive 50-over series win in England, having secured a dominant 6-1 success on last year's Ashes tour.

Another victory followed in the ICC Champions Trophy, but Australia were then thwarted by their arch-rivals in the World Twenty20 final earlier this year.

And ahead of the first of a five-match series starting at the Rose Bowl, Ponting has admitted that maintaining one-day supremacy over England will be a very tough challenge.

Hard work

"You would probably think that we have got our work cut out for us to win this series - but we are looking forward to the challenge," he said.

If the hosts manage to win on Tuesday, they will hold victories in the most recent meetings between the two sides in all three forms of the international game.

"That would be a bit of a change," Ponting said of the potential situation.

"We will be doing everything in our power to make sure that is not the case. I have great belief in this group and great belief in what they have inside themselves."

One reason Australia may head into the series at a disadvantage is the absence of pace bowling duo Mitchell Johnson and Brett Lee.

No excuse

Instead, Doug Bollinger and Ryan Harris are likely to given the task of trying to contain England's aggressive batting order.

But Ponting refuses to use injuries as an excuse and believes his squad has the depth to cope with the losses.

He added: "We pride ourselves in our depth of squad and the attitude we show when we play for Australia.

"We have managed to win some very good series in adversity, particularly the India tour win 12 months ago when we were down to our bones as far as players are concerned.

"When we are faced with a bit of adversity, the guys normally put their hands up and leap to a new level.

"I dare the players to surprise us with performances. The attitude around the team is to stretch yourself and do something special when it is needed."

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