ADELAIDE // The Australia captain Ricky Ponting has warned his team will need to improve if they are to match South Africa in the upcoming three-Test series despite sealing a 2-0 series whitewash against New Zealand. Brett Lee claimed five wickets as Australia dismissed the visitors for 203 to win the second Test at Adelaide Oval by an innings and 62 runs. Lee returned second innings figures of 5-105, while Mitchell Johnson claimed 3-29 and the spinner Nathan Hauritz bowled into the footmarks and finished with 2-32.
Brendon McCullum top scored with a defiant unbeaten 84 after the top of the New Zealand order succumbed to Lee before lunch. McCullum struck 14 boundaries and two sixes as he marshalled the tail and was involved in a defiant 50-run partnership with Iain O'Brien but ran out of support. New Zealand posted 270 in their first innings, but fell short of Australia's 535 which included a maiden test century from man-of-the-match Brad Haddin.
But Ponting insisted the team cannot afford to get too carried away with the performance. "Realistically that New Zealand team is probably not the strongest team we've ever come up against and they are probably the first to admit that," he said. "We are not kidding ourselves; we've got a long way to go if we want to stay the No1 team in the world." After a disappointing tour of India, Australia did show signs that their form was on the rise by beating the Black Caps at the Gabba and in Adelaide.
Ponting was particularly pleased with the batting efforts of Brad Haddin, Michael Clarke, Mike Hussey and the bowling performance by Lee. "When I spoke to the guys coming into this game I felt there was a lot of room for improvement and I think we've all seen a great deal of improvement from most players in this game," he said. "I think the last couple of weeks have been a good step for us." * PA Sport