|Following great performances Down Under, Ponting is adament he will not be retiring any time soon [GALLO/GETTY]|
Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke humbled India again with unbeaten centuries in guiding Australia to 335-3 at stumps on the first day on Tuesday.
In the fourth and final cricket Test, Ponting, 137 not out, was joined by Clarke, 140 not out, with Australia in trouble at 84-3 after winning the toss. The former captain and his successor shared a 251-run stand to put Australia in control in a series they have already won.
Ponting, who scored 134 in Sydney, smashed 13 boundaries, while Clarke, at times riding his luck, was in punishing mood while hitting a six and 19 fours.
“I am not satisfied where I am at. As a player you go through too many up and downs in the career… so I don’t want to let this one slip tomorrow”
The pair made full use of the flattening pitch and made India toil all day and rue their decision not to pick a second spinner to complement the offspin of Ravichandran Ashwin.
India turned to spin as early as the fourth over after the first two overs conceded 16 runs.
Ashwin was the only bowler apart from left-arm paceman Zaheer Khan to take wickets and trouble the Australia top order, and finished the day with 2-81.
Ponting, who has revived his 162-Test career in the past two months, became only the third batsman to pass 13,000 Test runs behind Indians Sachin Tendulkar (15,432) and Rahul Dravid (13,262). Ponting’s 41st hundred ranks behind only Tendulkar’s 51.
“That’s one of the things that is the difference between good players and great players,” Ponting said.
“It’s not for me. It has never been about making 13,000 runs or 40 hundreds. Winning games of cricket for Australia is what motivates me to keep playing.”
Ponting rated this hundred as better than the one in Sydney.
“I haven’t scored a lot of those in the last couple of years… it’s always nice to make a hundred,” Ponting said.
“I thought I played better today than I did in Sydney.
“I am not satisfied where I am at. As a player you go through too many up and downs in the career… so I don’t want to let this one slip tomorrow.”
The 37-year-old also quashed all suggestions that his retirement was imminent.
“I am not retiring after this Test,” he said.
“I’m giving my best shot to be the best player I can be, and to win games for Australia, and if I keep playing like I did today then hopefully there’s more runs around the corner.
“It’s not as if I’m striving for anything personally out of the game. I wanted to be around and help guys out and get my cricket back to the level where I thought I could get it back to.
“It’s not as if I’m striving for anything personally out of the game. I wanted to be around and help guys out and get my cricket back to the level where I thought I could get it back to”
“This summer really has been pretty satisfying for me.”
Ponting said Australia will be looking to score quickly and give itself enough time to dismiss India twice on a pitch that was very good to bat on.
“It will be a tough wicket to take 20 wickets if you want to win this game. We need to make sure we’re not killing too much time.”
The Indians bowlers went through the motions on an unresponsive pitch, and stand-in skipper Virender Sehwag brought himself on at times, along with part-time medium paceman Virat Kohli, in a bid to break the partnership.
Ponting and Clarke went about accumulating the runs untroubled, and Clarke, still fresh from his triple century in Sydney, dominated the partnership with some imperious batting.
He raced to his half century off 69 balls with successive boundaries off Ashwin, and reached a minor milestone scoring 1,000 runs in his 12 Tests as captain.