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Ashes: Ricky Ponting vows to fight on as Aussie captain

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I still have a lot to offer - Ponting

Captain Ricky Ponting insisted he took "full responsibility" for Australia's failure to win back the Ashes - but vowed to battle on as captain.

Ponting is the first Australian skipper in 120 years to fail three times in the Ashes after England's Melbourne win.

"I just haven't performed the way I needed to perform if Australia was going to win," said Ponting.

"I still think I've got a lot to offer as a batsman and a leader and hopefully that all comes out next week."

England won the fourth Test by an innings and 157 runs to take a 2-1 lead in the series which means they retain the Ashes after winning the 2009 contest at home.

Ponting has endured a terrible series with the bat, scoring 113 runs at an average of 16.14 in eight innings.

And he was fined 40% of his match fee following a protracted on-field disagreement with umpires Aleem Dar and Tony Hill after Australia were unsuccessful with a decision review on day two of the Boxing Day Test.

"My series has been horrible, there's no two ways about it," said Ponting, the second most prolific run scorer in Test cricket behind India's Sachin Tendulkar.

We need to have a think about the way we played here because it hasn't been anyway near good enough

Ricky Ponting

The Australian media has been particularly critical of Ponting's form and his captaincy, increasing speculation that the 36-year-old could stand down after the series.

Ponting took over as captain in early 2004 and led a losing side the following year when England won the Ashes for the first time in 18 years.

Australia bounced back with a 5-0 series whitewash down under in 2006/07 as the side enjoyed a period of dominance in Test cricket, but England regained the Ashes in 2009.

Asked whether he still wanted to be captain by BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew, Ponting responded: "Absolutely, I still want to be captain. I think I have a whole lot to offer as a batsman and as a leader.

"If I have to make a decision [about captaincy], I will make a decision that is right for Australian cricket, not me."

Australia were dismissed for only 98 on day one of the Boxing Day Test after Andrew Strauss opted to bowl first on a green-top wicket offering assistance for the seamers.

It was the hosts' lowest ever total against England and the lowest first-innings score at the MCG, a performance which earned scathing criticism from Australia's demanding media.

"When you have been bowled out for 98 on the first day of a Test match, it's pretty hard to bounce back," admitted Ponting, who has undergone a further X-ray on the broken finger he sustained in Australia's 267-run win over the tourists in Perth.

"We needed to get through the first couple of sessions in the day one to give ourselves a chance in the game.

"If we could have set something to set up on day one, we could have given them something to chase. But it wasn't be to."

TOM FORDYCE'S BLOG

Both teams move on to Sydney, the venue for the final Test of the five-match series, which begins on 3 January.

Australia displayed impressive resolve following their defeat by innings and 71 runs by levelling the series in Perth.

And Ponting believed his team have the talent and sufficient mental fortitude to bounce back for a second time.

"We need to have a think about the way we played here because it hasn't been anyway near good enough," he added.

"But I have full confidence that we will be able to do that. Perth was a good indicator.

"We have got another game next week to have some impact on the series, and hopefully win a test match for Australia. 2-2 is a whole lot better than 3-1."

No England team has won more than three Test matches in a single Ashes series since 1978/79, when a weakened Australia were thrashed 5-1 by Mike Brearley's England.



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see also
England seal win to retain Ashes
29 Dec 10 |  England
Jonathan Agnew column
29 Dec 10 |  Cricket
Strauss demands Ashes series win
29 Dec 10 |  England
Harris ruled out for three months
29 Dec 10 |  Australia
Fourth Ashes Test in photos
29 Dec 10 |  England
Ponting regrets umpire argument
28 Dec 10 |  Australia
Ponting hit with fine after row
27 Dec 10 |  Australia
England crash to heavy Ashes loss
19 Dec 10 |  England
England complete Adelaide triumph
07 Dec 10 |  Cricket
England in Australia 2010-11
08 Oct 09 |  Cricket


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