Former captain Steve Waugh has hailed Ricky Ponting as Australia's best batsman since the late Sir Don Bradman.
Ponting is in prodigious form
"I have no doubt he will finish as our best batsman after Bradman," said Waugh, who backed Ponting to score 50 Test centuries before his career ends.
"Averages now are probably five to seven runs higher than they used to be as boundaries have been brought in.
"But I still think Ricky is the most mentally-tough batsman in the world. He has an insatiable appetite for runs."
Ponting equalled Waugh's Australian record of 32 Test centuries on the opening day of the Ashes series against England in Brisbane by scoring his sixth hundred of the current calendar year and his ninth in the last 12 matches.
Waugh made his comments in a column in Sydney's Daily Telegraph and they were backed up by senior writer Robert Craddock.
Craddock said being described as the best since Bradman was a "grandiose tag" attributed in the past to Neil Harvey, Greg Chappell and Allan Border.
"The latest always seems the greatest but there seems little doubt Steve Waugh's prediction for Ricky Ponting will come true. In fact he may be there already.
"Statistics are only part of what makes a great player, but if Ponting (59.13) continues on his current rampage, he will soon pass South Africa's Graeme Pollock (60.97) as the owner of the second-best batting average in Test history."
Bradman, however, continues to stand apart from the rest in the annals of Test cricket with a record of 6,996 runs in 52 Tests at an average of 99.94.