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Ponting rushed back to save Oz blushes

Ponting rushed back to save Oz blushes

Ponting was allowed a break in the middle of the NZ series.

Melbourne: Australia skipper Ricky Ponting has been rushed back from a break in a bid to save the hosts from a humiliating series defeat at home to New Zealand.

Ponting was allowed a break in the middle of the series against touring New Zealand after Australia lost the opening limited overs encounter. The decision had invited widespread criticism from the former greats of the sport loving nation.

Michael Clarke was told to lead the team in his absence. However, a loss to the Kiwis on Friday in Melbourne in the second of the five-match series put the hosts in the danger of losing the series if New Zealand with a 2-0 lead, manage one victory in rest three games.

Australia will take on New Zealand in Sydney on Sunday. The hosts were restricted to 181 in Perth in the opening match and 225 for five from 50 overs in Melbourne. According to a report published in an Australia website, Ponting has been called back to bolster the depleted Australian batting attack.

Australia loss on Friday moved India one spot up in the world ODI rankings to number two as the Aussies were pushed down to number three.

first published:February 07, 2009, 11:18 IST