Skipper Ponting baffled by Australia’s poor form

Sydney: Australia captain Ricky Ponting is baffled by his team’s poor run of form but concedes the “doom and gloom” around the team will only be dispelled when they start winning again.

Australia were outplayed by Sri Lanka in the second of three one-dayers on Friday to lose their seventh straight match in all forms of the game, just 20 days before the start of the Ashes series against England.

“There’s a lot of doom and gloom around about this team and about Australian cricket, I think we all feel a lot more positive inside the dressing room compared to what it looks like from the outside,” Ponting said.

“But we can change what it looks like from the outside by starting winning games, we’re all very aware of that.

“That’s why I’m a bit disappointed about the result tonight, I would have thought the guys would have bounced back a bit better, but we’ve got another chance on Sunday.”

Ponting missed Wednesday’s opening defeat to Sri Lanka to attend his grandmother’s funeral and will skip the final match of the series in Brisbane on Sunday to return to Tasmania and prepare for a domestic match, Cricket Australia said.

“As the series against Sri Lanka has been decided (we have) an ideal opportunity to provide Ricky with two solid weeks of red-ball cricket,” said selector Greg Chappell.

“This allows him what we believe to be the best preparation to lead the Australian test match team in Brisbane for the first Ashes test match.”

Ponting said he did not think the approach of the Ashes was behind the poor run of form.

“I don’t think any of the guys are feeling under pressure or anything like that, I can’t put my finger on why our performances haven’t been better,” he said

“Our mood’s fine but for some reason our skills are letting us down at key times.”

Returning to the theme, he conceded that perhaps the team had been guilty of “thinking too far ahead”.

“Listen, the Ashes are a fair way away yet and we’ve got to stop talking about it and thinking about it,” he added.

“We have to make sure that we’re looking at Sunday first and foremost and turning our fortunes around there, then we worry about the next game after that.”

England began their first tour match against Western Australia in Perth on Friday and the Australia captain said he would be keeping track of how they were getting on ahead of the Ashes opener in Brisbane, starting on Nov. 25.

“We’ll keep a close eye on what they’re doing and we’ll be well-prepared for Brisbane,” he said.

Bureau Report

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