Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Australia have landed in Johannesburg for a three-Test series against South Africa which will be the battle for the right to hold the ICC Test Championship mace and be called the number one Test team in the world.Graeme Smith's men will be officially coronated the world's top-ranked Test team if they win the series, a prospect Ricky Ponting is determined to avoid."To tell the truth winning the series will mean more to me than what happens to this thing on the stage, so we'll give it our best shot to play the best cricket we can in this series and if that means holding on to this piece of silverware then all well and good," said Australian skipper Ponting.Rarely do the Aussies start a series as underdogs but after having handed Ponting's men their first home defeat in 16 years, South Africa are now favoured to do the same in front of their own crowd."I think of different times in Australia when the really big moments came around, South Africa tended to win most of those and I think the Melbourne Test match was a perfect example of that where we had them under a lot pressure and they turned a very ordinary situation in the game for them to a very positive one and ended up winning the game very well, stated Ponting.With a rookie pace attack and an unusually frail batting line-up, Australia have never been more vulnerable. Their skipper though is confident of his team's ability to play high standard of cricket.

"We've never, ever taken our success for granted, or not worked harder than any other team and that's what I think has made us stand out from a lot other cricket teams around the world over the last six or seven years is that we've been recognised as number one, but we've always felt that we've tried to train and prepare as we were number two," he added.The tour kicks off with a practice game against South Africa A before the first Test starting on Thursday in Johannesburg

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