Ponting asks Australia to embrace challenge of taking on South Africa

Sydney: Australia’s veteran batsman Ricky Ponting believes his teammates shouldn’t forget it was largely that same Proteas batting line-up they defeated in Johannesburg just 12 months ago in South Africa last summer.

The Proteas head into the first Test starting on Friday at the Gabba as the No.1-ranked Test side.

An experienced and proven batting line-up featuring captain Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers and veteran all-rounder Jacques Kallis is combined with world-class pace bowling trio of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander to make South Africa’s team one of the best sides to tour Australia in several summers.

He wants Australia to embrace the challenge of taking on South Africa this summer, saying the home side is within touching distance of the world’s best team, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

“It’s really important for us as a group to realise just how close we are to them as a team. They’re the number one ranked team in the world, and deservedly so, but we’re breathing down their necks,” Ponting said.

The 37-year-old got used to teams doing all they could to beat Australia during his captaincy and he expects the same approach to be taken against the Proteas.

“I know whenever we were the number one team in the world it just meant every time the opposition played you they wanted to knock you off, they wanted to see where they were at compared to you,” he said.

“We’re really excited about that and looking forward to that challenge. I know if we play our best, we’ll give them a hell of a scare that’s for sure.”