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Ponting identifies three key moments
Greg Stutchbury
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December 30, 2005 14:37 IST

Australia captain Ricky Ponting [Images] highlighted three key moments in the second Test against South Africa that helped his side ease to an 184-run victory shortly after lunch on Friday's fifth and final day.

Set 366 to win the match, the tourists never really had a chance even to save the match on Friday after they had slumped to 99 for six at the end of the fourth day's play.

All rounder Shaun Pollock [Images], who scored 67 not out, ensured the visitors defied the Australians until the break before Makhaya Ntini [Images] was bowled for two by Stuart MacGill in the first over after lunch to end their innings on 181.

Ponting, however said winning the toss was the first determinant in his team's favour.

"We bit the bullet early on day one and decided to bat on that wicket, knowing it will get a bit lower and spin as the game went along," Ponting told reporters.

"With the team we picked we thought that would be the best way to win the game."

The second factor was an 107-run final wicket partnership between man of the match Mike Hussey and Glenn McGrath in the first innings.

Hussey, who had been on 27 when McGrath strode to the wicket, and was promptly dropped by Jacques Kallis [Images] at second slip, shielded McGrath from the South African attack and was last man out for 122 with the score on 355.


"Mike Hussey and Glenn McGrath's partnership on day two has been the defining moment of the test match.

"Those extra 100 runs were vital for us and gave us a first innings total that South Africa would have to bat very well to dominate the test match from that moment on."

The third factor was the emergence of all rounder Andrew Symonds [Images], who had been under pressure after an inability to transfer his one-day form to the test arena, which was compounded when he was dismissed for a first-ball duck in the first innings.

Symonds, however, took a career best 3-50 in South Africa's first innings then clubbed 72 off 54 balls in a 66-minute 124-run partnership with Matthew Hayden [Images] that enabled Australia to make a declaration.

"It was great to see Andrew Symonds play well here.

"He missed out in the first innings but the way he has been able to bounce back with the ball.

"We should not underestimate what he did with the ball in their first innings. He got those three wickets when South Africa were looking pretty good and he turned the game.

"Then his knock yesterday allowed us to get out there a bit earlier and have a good crack at them last night.

"He is a match winner in both forms of the game as we have seen over the last few days."

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