We'll get there by the afternoon: Ponting
Melbourne, Dec 29: A 115-run partnership between old warhorses Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey (79*) rescued the Australians after they had lost four quick wickets with just 27 runs on the board in the second innings on Day 3 of the Boxing Day Test. The former Australian captain, who has been haunted by lack of form over the past two years, scored a valuable 60 to save the hosts the blushes at the MCG. The 37-year-old had contributed 62 runs in the first innings.
Ponting assessed the match so far in a chat with the broadcast channel on Day 4.
On the match being evenly poised
It is at the moment. India pulled back very strongly yesterday after being bowled out [for 282] after we dominated the early part of the day with the ball as well. We have a 230-run lead now and Mike [Michael] Hussey and James Pattinson [are] at the wicket. We need those guys to push on a little bit longer this morning [and] get a few more runs on the back, if possible. [It] should be a good game. Right through the game you found that the batsmen have found it pretty hard to stay on this wicket for some reason. Enough assistance is there for the ball; if you get the ball in the right areas for long enough, we shall get there in the afternoon.
On whether Australia’s batting collapse was a cause for worry
We are pretty concerned as well. The fact that Ishant Shrama could bat longer than the Indian middle-order yesterday shows that they are concerned as well. The idea was to start fresh as [we] bat; I mean we were four [wickets down] for 20 odd [runs] in the second innings. You can’t afford to get into that situation in Test matches but we pulled back pretty strongly. This morning’s partnership is going to be a big one for us.
On whether Nathan Lyon would have a role to play when India bat after the way R Ashwin bowled on Day 3
He has a big role to play in this game, there is no doubt about that. Whether or not he is taking wickets or just holding in [the batsmen] after the fast bowlers are used from the other end will be a different story. There would be a lot of players that will have a bowl today. It would have been nice if the batsmen could have given them a bit more of a break [to] freshen up a little bit more but we know that when there is a Test match on the line, our boys are ready to play.
On the pitch
It played pretty well. The pace and bounce has been pretty good right through the game. [...].There’s been consistency. [...] The ball will be coming on to the wicket but certainly you can bat well and score runs out there as well.
On batsmen from both sides getting dismissed to played-ons
I think there is just enough seam movement. Michael Clark’s chop was game; [it was a] little bit of [an] inside edge of the bat. Generally when you bowl a fuller length, you get chop-ons as well. I think that’s what both teams have been out doing this game, trying to pitch the ball up, doing something off the wicket. Shaun Marsh got a wide ball, probably; it didn’t make a good played-on but it ends up going on to the stumps. But that’s the game [and] sometimes that happens.