Ricky Ponting confident of regaining Ashes

Published: Sunday, April 30, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney:Australia's cricketers are on track to regain the Ashes from England in the Test series beginning later this year, captain Ricky Ponting said ahead of a five-month break.

Since losing the coveted trophy to England for the first time in 18 years last September, Australia have won 11 and drawn one of 12 Tests and won 18 of 25 One-day Internationals.

"With both forms of the game, I'm really happy with the way things are going," Ponting said at Sydney Airport as the team arrived home from gruelling tours of South Africa and Bangladesh.

"We've got Damien Martyn back in the Test side again now, we've got that really steady-looking batting line-up which I think will be very good against the English out here in our conditions.

"We believe that everything is sort of on course with Glenn McGrath at the moment and he's obviously very keen to play in the Ashes series."

Veteran paceman McGrath missed the recent tours to stay with his wife, who is battling cancer.

"Stuart Clark is coming along beautifully, Brett (Lee) has had an amazing 12 or 18 months and Warney is bowling as well as ever, so our whole set-up is shaping up pretty well," Ponting said.

The Australians would potentially have a better preparation for the Ashes series than England, who face seven Tests against Sri Lanka and Pakistan before arriving in Australia for the Ashes series in November.

"Our preparation, if we do it well and do it properly, I think we should be as well prepared as we possibly can be for the first Test match in Brisbane," Ponting said.

"There's probably going to be opportunities for some players to get maybe three or four rounds of Pura Cup cricket under their belts before the first Test.

"Where we came undone through South Africa and Bangladesh was just by having two-day breaks, one of which is obviously a travel day and then you've got a training day and you're back into the rigours of a Test match.

"That happened with almost five consecutive Test matches."

Ponting said he expected the next Ashes showdown to generate similar levels of excitement and exposure for the game as the memorable series in England last year.

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