Laxman won`t be allowed runner this time: Ponting

Bangalore: Wary of even a half-fit VVS Laxman, Australian captain Ricky Ponting today said that in case the Indian batsman plays the second cricket Test despite back spasm, he will not be allowed a "runner" if his injury begins to bother him during the match starting Saturday.

Laxman struck an unbeaten 73 as India fought back from the brink of defeat to beat Australia by one wicket in a thrilling first Test in Mohali and Ponting, aware of their old nemesis` potential, does not want to take any chances this time around.

"Learnt the lesson last week (Mohali Test). It can happen obviously. He (Laxman) comes to the game and had a runner. I actually look very faintly that it did not seem he was injured looking at the way he was batting.”

"I am bit surprised that he had not batted today at the net session. He obviously had much recovery time as possible. I expect that in the game in this stadium he would not be having a runner. No, that can`t happen," Ponting said in the pre-match press conference.

Talking about the success of his bowlers in Mohali Test but leaving Laxman scot free, the Aussie captain said the team has different plans now even though he had not trained at the net sessions here.

"I expect Laxman to play. Look, when you have a batting order like the innings (Mohali) you got, I have to talk about every one of them. Sachin is foremost and first and probably then, Sehwag but we play cricket with total respect for all of these stars.”

"Laxman batting with the tail-enders was very very sensible and good. So, we need to make sure that we have got our plans up and working when he bats in this game. I am sure things would be slow and different from the other day. I think it will be different this time. Until we got him out this guy is going to shake a bit," the Australian skipper said.

Ponting said his team is looking forward to square the series (1-1) and also win a Test match on Indian soil.

"We are already geared up towards doing the job well for next five days. Sometimes you do not achieve the result. I had already said that I was proud the way my boys have played cricket in the first game. Unfortunately we did not click at the right time.”

"For the Test starting here tomorrow, we are focusing and talking about it. Yesterday we had a long training session and we are going to train towards winning the match. It is from our part going to be a very similar game like last week and hope for the result, which would be lot more different," Ponting said.

About having some of the fast bowlers in injury list like Doug Bollinger in back to back Test matches, the skipper said, "we have looked after the boys well. From end of the last Test match, we had a trouble and early start coming here."

"The quickies would be training at the nets today and hopefully their recovery would be well before we go for the game tomorrow," he added.

When asked about the validity of tournaments like Twenty20 before important Test series like this, Ponting said "I know from the Australian side that they all (Michael Hussey and Doug Bolligner) played in tournaments only to prepare well for the Test match."

On not bringing on Michael Clarke to bowl in Mohali, Ponting said, "All I can say is that we had a great chance to win the last week`s game."

"For this week we have made our plans and prepared well. When some situations arise, as captain I shall also do my best for the team cause. All I hope is that I can have a tick in having won a match in India as far as I am concerned," the skipper said.

Asked about the retirement plans, Ponting explained, "I have always enjoyed the cricket that I am playing and had never thought whether this is my last Test or series."

"India is a great place to play Test cricket. In fact, the Australian team has enjoyed every contest here. We have also enjoyed the country outside the cricket venues. I still believe that I have few more years of cricket left in me, which means I would be back in India again on a Test tour," he said.


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