Dubai: The presentation of ICC Test Championship mace and the ODI Championship shield plus prize money was made to the captains of the Australia and South Africa teams in Johannesburg today.
Captain Ricky Ponting accepted the mace and 175,000 dollars on behalf of Cricket Australia for leading the team that will finish top of the Test Championship table on the annual cut-off date of 1 April. He also picked up a cheque for 75,000 dollars for coming second in the ODI Championship on the same date.
Meanwhile, Graeme Smith took possession of the shield and 175,000 dollars on behalf of Cricket South Africa in recognition of his team finishing on top of the ODI Championship table. He also accepted a cheque for 75,000 dollars for being second in the Test Championship on the 1 April cut-off.
At the presentation, Ponting said: “This is a tribute to the hard work of the players and the back-room staff and it"s very pleasing for us… After losing the home series against South Africa we were under pressure and so we came here to make sure we lifted our game and improve in a lot of areas. That was our focus.
“I think the way we performed in first two Tests of the series was as good as we have played in a long time and it gave me perhaps more pleasure than any other series I have been a part of either as a player or a captain."
Smith added: “If you look back a couple of years we were probably fourth or fifth in both the Test and ODI rankings so to be second in the Test rankings and number-one in one-dayers is a great feeling and is testament to how far we have come.
“The hunger is there and we have shown that we can compete with Australia in both those formats of the game and I am optimistic that we can eventually lead both sets of rankings because we have the right plan and the right attitude at the moment."