x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Ponting finds renewed focus for Australia with the bat

Ricky Ponting said that his decision to step down as captain of Australia's Test and one-day teams has helped him focus on his batting form, as Sri Lanka found out.

Ricky Ponting says that he can focus on his batting now that he does not have the responsibilities as Australia's captain.
Ricky Ponting says that he can focus on his batting now that he does not have the responsibilities as Australia's captain.

Ricky Ponting said that his decision to step down as captain of Australia's Test and one-day teams is helping his batting form.

Ponting, who relinquished both roles in March following Australia's home defeat in the Ashes, scored an unbeaten 90 as to help his country to an eight-wicket win over Sri Lanka Sunday in the second one-day international in Hambantota.

The former captain shared in stands of 94 with Shane Watson (43) and an unbroken 107 with the current captain, Michael Clarke (58no), as the tourists reached their victory target of 209 with 11.4 overs to spare, taking a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.

"It was nice to have spent [time] in the middle again," Ponting, the man of the match, said. "The game was set up by our bowlers, who kept taking the wickets.

"Thankfully we haven't had bigger totals to chase, thanks to our bowlers and fielders.

"I am getting a few runs, so not being captain must be working all right. Michael Clarke is doing a fine job, and I am getting used to sitting in a corner and being told what to do."

Clarke echoed Ponting's sentiments about the Australia attack. "The bowlers did a great job," he said. "The bowlers are executing their plans really well. Full credit to them. They have got great plans, and hopefully they keep executing."

While it was praise for the Australia bowlers, Tillakaratne Dilshan, the Sri Lanka captain, lamented the performance of his batsmen.

"We didn't get enough runs," he said. "This wicket was a 250 pitch. We have to work things out as a batting unit.

"Ponting and Clarke batted really well. We have to work really hard as batsmen."

The Australia innings - 211 for two in 38.2 overs - was in contrast to that of their hosts, who were bowled out for 208 in 49.3 overs with only Kumar Sangakkara (52) passing 50.

The victory was Australia's fifth successive ODI win.