Ponting backs out-of-form duo - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ponting backs out-of-form duo

By Roger Vaughan 01/02/2005 07:31:38 PM Comments (0)

The next three days will be crucial for Matthew Hayden and Andrew Symonds as Australians selectors consider the team for the first one-day cricket tri-series final.

Captain Ricky Ponting again strongly backed the out-of-sorts duo on Tuesday, but stressed the team had to lift after Sunday's poor performance against Pakistan.

Australia lost by three wickets as Hayden (six) again failed and Symonds made 23.

The Pakistan-West Indies match in Perth will determine the opponent for the best-of-three finals series, which opens on Friday at the MCG.

Selector Allan Border said it was important Australia put its "best side on the paddock" for the finals and said if that meant dropping Hayden, "well, so be it".

When told about Border's comments, Ponting replied: "He's one of the selectors, I haven't spoken to him about that since last night, anyway.

"We've got a couple of training days to come, all of us have to lift our games a little bit from our last performance in Perth. It was a pretty ordinary performance - definitely the worst performance of the summer."

But Ponting added: "His (Hayden's) numbers in one-day cricket are fantastic and if he's batting at his best, he's definitely our best opener.

"He was unfortunate to be dismissed when he was the other night in Perth, he looked better the other night than he's looked for a long time.

"He's working extremely hard and I'm sure the runs will come for him very soon.

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