Reluctant Ponting follows rest orders

Ricky Ponting has bowed to long-term interests by taking a mid-series break despite wanting to stay on and lead his team through its current slump. Australia’s selectors have rested Ponting for the next two fixtures with New Zealand even though his side is behind after losing the first match of the Chappell-Hadlee Series in Perth on Sunday.

Ponting said it was “painful” to leave the current situation. “There is never a good time to be rested from the Australian side and I accept that this certainly is not a good time,” Ponting told the Australian. “The selection panel were determined to rest me no matter what. There had been suggestions I have a break earlier, but I did not think there was ever an appropriate opportunity and I am not sure there ever will be a good time to do it.”

New Zealand call on rookies for big test

New Zealand will bring two uncapped players in Trent Boult and Brendon Diamanti to Australia for next month’s five-match Chappell-Hadlee Series. Boult, a left-arm fast bowler, is only 19 and is part of the 14-man squad that will attempt to forget the 2-0 defeat in the Test campaign late last year.

“Trent has been impressive in his first season in the State Shield, with 13 wickets at an average of 23.84,” the selection chairman Glenn Turner said. “He’s also performed well for New Zealand A and the national Under-19 side and we believe he’s ready to step up to the top level.”

Where are our hundreds? asks Hadlee

New Zealand’s cricketers are under pressure from domestic players after a succession of poor performances in the Tests and ODIs in South Africa, and the Chappell-Hadlee series in Australia. The squad for the Test series against Bangladesh is due to be picked between the second and third one-dayers and Richard Hadlee, the chairman of the selection panel, has said that there is a “tremendous amount to play for”.

Ponting gains revenge with century in series win

Ricky Ponting wanted to regain the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy more than any of his team-mates and his determination translated into consecutive centuries as he commandeered a dominant 2-0 series win. Ponting was resting when New Zealand whitewashed Australia in February and his mission of revenge was completed after his 134 not out set up a 114-run victory in Hobart.

His 107 had done a similar job in securing the opening win in Adelaide, but the home team had some tense moments at Bellerive Oval before Ponting arrived to overcome a deceptive pitch. Australia, who had rested Adam Gilchrist, fell to 3 for 87 after being sent in and needed rescuing by Ponting, who steadied and then accelerated on the way to a rewarding total of 6 for 282.

Clarke opens up for crucial encounter against Kiwis

Australia’s batting order has been reshuffled with Michael Clarke pushed up to open in the absence of Adam Gilchrist for the deciding Chappell-Hadlee Series match. Australia lead 1-0, but New Zealand can retain the trophy if they win in Hobart today (Thursday) and will look to take advantage of the opposition changes.

Clarke, who wins a promotion while Gilchrist rests for a week, scored 33 at the top of the order during the Twenty20, but he has limited experience in the position in ODIs. He has opened 11 times, including posting two zeroes when Matthew Hayden was injured during the India series in October.

Bracewell tied in knots over missing Gilchrist

John Bracewell claimed to have inside knowledge on why Adam Gilchrist was rested for Thursday’s final match of the Chappell-Hadlee Series before apologising to Australia’s vice-captain for being misleading. Less than a week after refusing to pass Shaun Tait’s action, Bracewell was back in the limelight with a strange response to a question about whether he was surprised by Gilchrist’s omission for the deciding game in Hobart.

“No, not at all because of the circumstances of why he’s left out of the team,” Bracewell was reported by NZPA. “[The reasons are] not for me to reveal. It’s down as ‘rested’, but they’re not for me to reveal. Could it be family reasons? I don’t know. It’s not necessarily rested.”

Disappointing Tait controversy spurred us: Australia captain

Ricky Ponting has dismissed the fracas surrounding Shaun Tait’s action as “absolute rubbish” and called New Zealand’s insinuations “a bit disappointing”. But he admitted nevertheless the situation motivated Australia to victory in the Chappell-Hadlee Series opener in Adelaide on Friday.

“It seems to be their opinion,” Ponting said. “To air it publicly is a bit disappointing I suppose, but what can you do? It probably just makes us a bit hungrier to go out there and play some good cricket against them.”

Ponting ton helps Australia to early honours

pontingRicky Ponting settled the first of several scores against New Zealand, his 24th one-day century leading Australia to a seven-wicket victory in the Chappell-Hadlee Series opener in Adelaide. He dodged the rain to drive them home with 45 deliveries remaining after a 25-ball fifty from Adam Gilchrist and Michael Clarke’s 48.

Ponting’s run-a-ball hundred left New Zealand with no answers. He was as composed as ever, putting his bat where his mouth was, after promising to do his utmost to regain the title. He couldn’t have done much more, and received decent support from Clarke before he and Andrew Symonds finished the job.

New Zealand demolished by brutal Australia

Australia’s fast bowlers breathed fire after Andrew Symonds flexed his muscle on the way to an eventful 54-run victory over New Zealand. The new-look outfit showed no signs of nerves and the result was sealed as soon as New Zealand slumped to 5 for 31 chasing 6 for 186.

Shaun Tait, who was back after elbow surgery, raced through two wickets in his first over and Brett Lee’s extreme speed was responsible for a couple of breakthroughs in his opening spell. There was no respite for the New Zealanders, who were also hit by Mitchell Johnson and Ashley Noffke, and they were all out for 132. It was not the performance they needed ahead of the Chappell-Hadlee Series on Friday.

Tait to use one-dayers to push for Test spot

Shaun Tait will use the three one-dayers against New Zealand in his bid to get back into the Test frame. Tait dropped out of the Test squad for Sri Lanka with an elbow injury, and had to watch Mitchell Johnson bowl credibly in the third fast bowler’s slot.

But he says he will target the Chappell-Hadlee Series, which starts at his home ground in Adelaide next Friday, to push for selection for the India Tests, which begin on Boxing Day. He also has Tuesday’s Twenty20 in Perth to further his claims, which have already been boosted by a ten-wicket match haul against Queensland in the Pura Cup, including 7 for 29.