Ponting keen to continue

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Andrew Strauss & Ricky Ponting

Ricky Ponting congratulates opposite number Andrew Strauss following England's Ashes-retaining victory in Melbourne. The 36-year-old insisted: "Absolutely I still want to be captain"

Ricky Ponting reiterated his desire to stay on as Australia captain after England retained the Ashes with a comprehensive victory in the fourth Test at the MCG.

The tourists took less than 90 minutes to wrap up an innings-and-157-run triumph this morning, putting them 2-1 ahead in the series with one match to come.

Ponting has endured a dismal series with the bat, making just 113 runs, but is eager to lead his side in next week’s final Test at Sydney.

“Absolutely I still want to be captain,” he said. “I still feel I have a whole lot to offer the team as far as batting and leadership is concerned.

“It’s not a decision for me to make. I could step down but I don’t have a decision to stay on. The powers that be will make that decision.

“If I have a decision to make it has to be right for Australian cricket and not for me.”

Ponting admitted that his form had been a critical reason behind his side’s troubles.

“My series has been horrible,” he said. “That’s a big reason why we’ve been in this position. We’ve all tried and you do the best you can, sometimes it’s good enough.

“We’re disappointed and we’ve been beaten easily. We now can’t win the Ashes and no-one is more disappointed than me.

Ricky Ponting

Ponting said: "The really important thing we need to do is pay credit to England and the way they played for the whole tour"

"We weren’t good enough, they simply outplayed us.”

Ponting, who has become the first Australia captain since the 19th century to lose the Ashes three times, paid further tribute to Andrew Strauss’ side.

"We've learnt a lot about how to play very good Test cricket from some of the cricket that the English team have played over the last few weeks,” he revealed.

"I think the really important thing we need to do is pay credit to England and the way they played for the whole tour.

"Apart from the third Test, they've played a really high level of cricket the whole way through - not only this series, but the tour games as well. Credit to them for the way they prepared."

Ponting, who had a second x-ray today on the little finger that had threatened to rule him out of this game, added: “I don’t know (about my fitness). The plan was to get through the game and have another x-ray.

"I’ve got them back, but I’ve not had chance to look at them with the physio yet.

“I have a bit of thinking to do. It would be nice to flick a switch and turn things around. I’ve tried my heart out and I understood that for us to win I had to make runs. I haven’t done that.”

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