Ashes victory began with defeat in Eng: Ponting

Published: Monday, December 18, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Perth:Ricky Ponting has said that meticulous planning and more support for the players had been the major reason Australia had regained the Ashes after just three Tests.

The Australians wrapped up the Ashes series when they beat England by 206 runs in the third Test at the WACA Ground here to take an unbeatable 3-0 lead.

The Australian skipper said that after England won the Ashes back in 2005 there was a great deal of soul searching in the Australian dressing room.

Ten days after returning from England Ponting called a meeting of all the contracted Australian players and cricket authorities to discuss changes.

The players wanted more coaches and support staff, and they wanted England's Australian bowling coach Troy Cooley in particular.

Cricket Australia responded positively to their demands, with Cooley leaving the England set-up soon after and fielding coach Mike Young appointed to spend more time with the Australian players.

"The planning (for this series) started the moment we arrived back from England," Ponting said on Monday.

"We had a very short break and addressed the whole Ashes series and where we went wrong and what was holding us back through that last series."

Ponting said the coaching staff had listened to the players' concerns and had changed they way they approached each match.

"I know now that we are going into Test matches as well prepared as we possibly can be," he said.

Ponting said the trials of pace bowler Jason Gillespie on the last Ashes tour made him realise more needed to be done to help players who lose form.

"Looking back at the last series I think it is one of the great shames that we've had since I've been playing that we had some fast bowlers in that last series who were struggling -- you know world class fast bowlers that were struggling through that series and we had no-one to help them out," he said.

"Since then we've now got more assistant coaches and we've got our fielding coach with us a lot more often, and Troy's around and we've got more people on hand to help some of these players out when things aren't going right."

Ponting said that the Ashes loss was a turning point for him in that from that point on he wanted to "be the best player I can be".

"We've probably set new standards for ourselves now, as individuals and as a team, on the way to prepare and the way to play and it's up to the players to keep toeing that line," he said.

He said the Australians had made too many mistakes in the last Ashes series and he was always confident the mistake rate would be much lower this time around.

"(Last series) we bowled lots of no-balls, our fielding was very sloppy, whenever we had batting partnerships going we managed to lose a wicket and let England back into the game, and as we've seen right through this series we just haven't done that," he said.

"If we've had a partnership going we've made it into a big one and just haven't given England the opportunities to compete with us this time round."

Ominously for the tourists Ponting said there would be no let up in the intensity, with the Australians, a number of whom will be playing in their last Ashes series, determined to record a clean sweep and win the remaining two Tests in Melbourne and Sydney.


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