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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 March, 2005, 07:34 GMT 08:34 UK
Ponting salutes 'great' Australia
Ricky Ponting (r) and man of the series Adam Gilchrist celebrate their triumph in New Zealand
Australia captain Ricky Ponting said his all-conquering side had reached top form during their tour of New Zealand.

The world champions won all five one-day internationals and clinched a 2-0 victory in the three-Test series with a nine-wicket win in Auckland.

"We've played some great cricket. We've set very high standards over a long period of time," said Ponting, whose unbeaten 82 helped win the last Test.

"And I think we've lived up to those standards over the last three weeks."

New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming was left to reflect on another chastening experience.

We were beaten by a great group of players in a once-in-a-lifetime team
Stephen Fleming

The Kiwis were beaten inside four days in both Christchurch and Auckland, and were on the ropes when rain saved them in Wellington.

They slumped to 23-4 on the final day of the series, and only some late resistance from the tail helped set a target of 164, which the Australians reached with ease.

"I'm disappointed we couldn't put up more of a fight," said Fleming.

"There are plenty of reasons and excuses but we have to take it on the chin.

"We have to try and salvage the positives to come out of a series like this.

"The last time they were out here, they played extremely well but we came away a better side and had a good period for a couple of years."




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