Ponting calls for Australia response
Australia captain Ricky Ponting has challenged his batsmen to follow the lead of their England counterparts as they attempt to rescue a draw from the second Ashes Test.
The tourists continued to pile on the runs on day three in Adelaide, with Kevin Pietersen’s unbeaten 213 helping them to 551 for four - a lead of 306.
England skipper Andrew Strauss will no doubt be contemplating the timing of a declaration and Ponting admits his team must stand up and be counted when they begin their second innings.
“We’ll see what we’re made of, won’t we? It’s as simple as that,” he said.
“They (England) have shown us how to bat on this wicket so far. Their application and their skills with their batting in the last couple of games has been terrific and we have to emulate that.
“We have to play the way that we know we can play and do it for a long period of time if we are going to keep ourselves in the game.
“We’ve been outplayed in the last five days of Test cricket that we have played and we have to bounce back.”
Australia were dismissed for just 245 on day one, a considerably below-par score given the benign nature of the pitch.
“We obviously didn’t bat as well as we needed to and we’ve seen over the last couple of days just how good a wicket it is for the batters,” Ponting added. “We’ve got some work to do now.”
Although the surface remains largely true, there were signs of deterioration today.
And with the footmarks of left-arm seamer Doug Bollinger creating plenty of rough for England off-spinner Graeme Swann, Ponting is under no illusions when it comes to the task facing his side.
He continued: “Dougie’s footmarks have created a nice little area for Swann. Northy (Marcus North) landed a few in the rough there this afternoon and they spun quite sharply so Swann will be a handful for us.
“I also think we saw a hint of reverse swing for the first time today and with the wicket getting a bit more abrasive as the game goes on I’m pretty sure it will reverse swing late in the game.
“We are going to have our challenges, no doubt about it, but we’ve all been there before, we’ve all done it before and we just have to do it again.
“This is as big as it gets in the game and we’re going to do the best we can to get out of this Test match in the best way possible. It’s important that we don’t give the Test match up.”
Simon Katich spent time off the field today battling an Achilles injury, but Ponting expects the opener to be fit to retain his place at the top of the order.
“He’s got a sore Achilles that is quite badly swollen,” confirmed Ponting.
“I had him off the ground a couple of times today to get as much ice on it as possible, knowing that he’s got a lot of batting to do over the last couple of days.
“But he’ll be okay. He’s a pretty tough character as we know and once it’s time for him to bat he will be fine.”
Katich was not the only player to provide a fitness concern for Australia. Ryan Harris appeared to be troubled by a shoulder problem while Bollinger was seen limping as the day wore on.
“You saw with Dougie late today that he hit the wall a little bit, but they (the bowlers) are toiling away and doing their best,” Ponting added.
“There’s not much in the track. We’ve just got to keep hanging in there and see if we can make some breakthroughs.
“But to tell you the truth I think most of the work for the rest of the game is going to be done by the batters.”