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Ponting confident ahead of Boxing Day Test

Melbourne, Dec 25 (UNI) Exuding confidence ahead of the Boxing Day Test against the visiting Indian team, Australian skipper Ricky Ponting said his side has the ammunition to shoot down their rivals.

''I'm very confident in the attack that we've got, that it's going to be good enough to take 20 wickets in every Test we play this summer, so I couldn't ask for anything more,'' Ponting was quoted as saying by the local media.

According to Ponting, pace spearhead Brett Lee was in the best form of his career while Stuart Clark's record (54 wickets from 11 matches) was among the best in the world and Mitchell Johnson, who had a good outing during the ODI series in India earlier this year, had been impressive.

The weather is expected to remain good on all five days, but acording to Ponting, the early pace-friendly conditions will make the job of the Aussie selectors a tough one.

''You've just got to try to get the conditions right with the players you've got available,'' he said.

''If it looks like it's going to be pretty damp in the morning then we've got a tough decision to make.'' Australia must decide whether to go for an all-pace attack or play left-arm wrist spinner Brad Hogg along with three quicks.

Left-arm speedster Mitchell Johnson and young tearaway Shaun Tait will vie for the third pacer's spot if Hogg plays.

The decision will be a difficult one since Johnson's has an impressive record against the Indians while the in-form Tait's raw pace and knack of ripping through the rivals' batting line-up makes him dangerous.

Australia would not name their final XI until tomorrow morning as the captain and selectors wanted extra time to analyse the MCG wicket which has had its preparations hampered by rain the past week.

Ponting was not too concerned about the absence of Glenn McGrath and spin legend Shane Warne who have both retired.

''(Lee) is a wicket-taking bowler and for different reasons to Shane was,'' he said. ''That's what Tait is as well.

''If Tait happens to play in this game he's exactly like that, he's a guy who can break a game open in a couple of overs.'' ''So the wicket-taking options we lost with McGrath and Warne, we've just gained other guys in different roles to do that for us,'' he added.

Ponting is of the opinion that the Aussie attack is more dangerous and boasts more variety than the outfits which struggled to bowl India out four years ago, when McGrath was injured and Warne was suspended.

However, he added a note of caution saying that Australia had learned from prior mistakes and will not bowl too short or over-attack Indian batsmen.


Story first published: Tuesday, December 25, 2007, 14:35 [IST]
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