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Page last updated at 15:06 GMT, Sunday, 9 August 2009 16:06 UK

Ponting salutes resurgent Aussies

Ricky Ponting with daughter Emmy
Ponting savours the winning feeling with his daughter Emmy

Australia captain Ricky Ponting feels his team have the edge going into the deciding final Test after victory by an innings and 80 runs at Headingley.

"We couldn't have asked for much more," he said. "Bowling them out for 100 on day one is obviously where it was won.

"But when we had our chance to bat I thought we really put our foot on their throats and kept them down, demoralised them and our bowling was spot on again.

Of The Oval, he said: "It's a big stage where we generally play at our best."

England captain Andrew Strauss won the toss on Friday and chose to bat, with Ponting saying at the time he would have made the same decision.

Ponting 'ultra proud' of team

The Australian skipper said the wicket had not been overly difficult on that first day and added: "I would have liked to have thought we would have batted better in those conditions.

"It swung a little bit but it swung right through the game, I don't think the wicket played too much of a part for too many dismissals on that first day, it was some really high-class seam bowling from our four quicks.

"I've said right from the start that if we expose their middle order to a newish swinging ball then I felt we would be in the game and I think that's the way it has panned out this game.

"[Alastair] Cook hung in there a little bit in the first innings and [Andrew] Strauss and he did in the second innings but once we got into that middle order with the ball still swinging about a bit it looked like a totally different game."

Another encouraging note for Ponting's team was the return to form of left-arm paceman Mitchell Johnson, who took six wickets in the match, having struggled in the first three games, when his 10 wickets cost 423 runs.

"It's amazing how things can change, I'm proud of everyone for sticking with him and supporting him through it," the captain said.

"We knew that with just a little bit going his way that he'd be able to turn things around and I think in the last couple of games in particular he's just showing his class as an all-round cricketer.

"We knew this was a big game for us, I knew England would be under some pressure going into this game but we played really well and we can take that into the next game."

With England having capitulated so dramatically at Headingley, there has been speculation about the drastically out-of-form middle order, with suggestion that 39-year-old Mark Ramprakash might be recalled, having made his fifth century of the county season.

"Obviously he's a fine player but whether it's the right time to bring him back into a Test match is a different story," Ponting said.

"It's amazing how things can change whether it's the way the media sees a team or even the way a team looks upon itself.

"We've been trying to find our best cricket over the last three or four weeks and I said to the boys right the way through that I know if we play our best we are going to win.

"As you've seen over the last two-and-a-half days our best cricket's well and truly going to be good enough."

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see also
Aussies win to level Ashes series
09 Aug 09 |  England
Classic Ashes clashes: Headingley
04 Aug 09 |  England
Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket
Australia in England 2009
20 Sep 09 |  England

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