Perth: Mike Hussey rejected suggestions that Australia`s troubled Ashes campaign is affecting Ricky Ponting`s batting after the captain failed again in the third test against England on Thursday.
Ponting, dismissed for a golden duck and nine in the second Test in Adelaide, managed only 12 runs in Australia`s first innings in Perth before he edged James Anderson to third slip, where Paul Collingwood held a brilliant one-handed catch.
Ponting had put himself under pressure to score runs in Perth, but his injudicious flash summed up the hosts` woes as they were skittled for 268 on day one at the WACA ground.
Australia trail 1-0 in the five-Test series, and if they lose in Perth it will be the first time in 24 years they have failed to win the Ashes on home soil.
"Whether he`s going well or the team`s going well or not well, he (Ponting) is just such a consistent character," Hussey told reporters.
"And what I do know is if people doubt or critics count against such a champion they generally come back and show the critics to be wrong.”
"I`ve no doubt it`s going to be the same this occasion. Ricky`s such a champion batsman, champion bloke and a champion captain -- I`m sure he`ll be fine."
Hussey scored 61 for his third half-century in the series following his 195 in the first Test in Brisbane and was the top order`s lone resistance as they tumbled out on a green-top wicket in the morning session.
Mitchell Johnson, dropped for the Adelaide Test, top-scored with 62 as the tail wagged, before England negotiated 12 overs late in the day to close on 29-0.
Hussey said Johnson`s confidence with the ball would now be key as Australia try to defend their meagre score.
"Just watching a couple of replays on the board, it looked like he was getting a little bit of swing from the new ball, and I know his confidence is up when he can get that ball to swing away from the left-handers," Hussey said.
"That`s a good sign for us tomorrow. Hopefully he can keep those emotions in check and really concentrate on getting that ball in the right area and he`ll be a real handful tomorrow."