Defiant Ponting plans to bat on


Ricky Ponting made clear he had no plan to step away from cricket on Wednesday after his second half-century of the first Test against India rescued Australia and gave them a chance of victory. The former skipper looked in good form as he scored 60 following a 62 in the first innings, helping Australia to a 230-run lead over the Indians with two wickets left and two days to play at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. There have been calls for Ponting, the oldest player in the Australian team at 37, to make way for a younger man, but he continued to defy his critics even though he is without a Test century in almost two years.
Ponting, who stood down from the captaincy for Michael Clarke last March, is Test cricket’s third greatest runscorer behind Indians Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid and has plans to carry on. “I don’t care what people outside the dressing room are saying, if I’ve got the support inside the dressing room that’s all that really matters to me,” he said after Wednesday’s play. “I want to do my best to get this Australian team back to a bit higher ranked than we are at the moment and be a consistent runscorer along the way. “There’s plenty of motivation out there for me but first and foremost it’s for me to be a successful player in a successful team.” Asked how he dealt with the constant speculation over his place in the team, Ponting said he had been gratified by the public support he has received.