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Resurgent Ponting - Back to Brilliant Best

January 23, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 156

Ricky Ponting produced arguably his most fluent performance in nearly 2 years on the first day of the 4th test as he and Michael Clarke proceeded once again to knock the stuffing out of India. Ponting, who has been criticised over the past year or so has now racked up his 2nd century in 3 matches and at 137* looks set to go on further. In an almost Dravid style return to form the former captain now looks a key unit in the team again at his new found number 4 position.

For the 2nd time in the series Ponting and Clarke have racked up a colossal partnership after coming to the middle with their side in a spot of bother. The Ponting of old had turned up today though and announced his arrival with a few typical shots including one of his terrific pull shots and a classy back foot drive. The spinners were dealt with just as efficiently as well, going over the top with ease and a combination of good runnning ensured a healthy strike rate which saw his century come up in 164 balls. On the way also saw his 13000th international run, joining only 2 others in that club, who coincidentally were on the same pitch today, in Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar. As the day wore on, Ponting took a more apprehensive approach, but a superb effort from him and Clarke saw Australia to a commanding 335 - 3 at stumps and ready to kick on even further tomorrow.

Ponting has shown great mental resolve over the past 18 months. So close to being dropped one would feel, it appeared that he would not be able to have this golden age late in his career as his peers have. And he hasn't yet. But to start scoring these runs under the media and selectors pressure have been indicative once again of the class that the man has. And despite being 37, he doesn't see himself going anywhere yet. After already expressing the desire to play in the next 2 Ashes series, which would just see him in to the start of 2014, this now looks much more of a realistic prospect than a hope. The pressure of not being captain seems to have helped immensely and if the fitness levels can be maintained he is still a key asset to an impressing unit after the gradual phasing out of some of the elder statesmen.

Age has become even more of a number now in cricket than in the past. Despite there being much more cricket played, players fitness levels are now so much higher, and with the new crop of superb fielders coming through, it can only be expected to continue. Ponting and co. still play massive roles in their teams. Without Dravid, India would have been even more humiliated than they were. Without Sachin, India would lose a legend who is still churning out the scores, despite them being more 2 figure scores at the moment. Australia will not have as much of a problem finding a replacement for Ponting as other countries, but they will still be big boots to fill. As for Ponting, it will be intriguing to see if he decides to play less ODI matches, or if he is given to freedom to play less, or whether he wants to keep playing both formats.

Whatever happens though, it is hard to see Australia without Ponting, and this has only been emphasised further during this series. His best years are probably behind him, but his ability to still produce in the key moments when the pressure is on is a quality that few are blessed with. After this series and ODI's, Australia travel to the West Indies, and Ponting's presence will no doubt once again loom over the Caribbean.

Elliot Cornish is a sports reporter and blogger on He is prominent in all of the sports sections but is particularly associated with cricket and darts.

Source: EzineArticles
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