Symonds innings was defining point of match: Ponting

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Nagpur, Oct 14 (UNI) Australian captain Ricky Ponting today termed the innings played by Andrew Symonds the defining moment of the sixth one-dayer against India, which the visitors won by 18 runs to clinch the series 4-1 and with it the Future Cup.

Speaking to the media after Australian had completed its victory, Ponting said, ''We kept losing wickets at intervals and if it was not for Symonds, who took it upon himself to guide the innings then we would not have reached such a huge score.'' He said the performance of the spinners made the difference between India's unsuccessful chase.

Ponting said that he was a bit surprised to see Pathan come in at number 3 and then followed by Dravid at number 4 when India had good stroke players in the dressing room after the start they were given by Tendulkar and Ganguly.

''We always believe in getting the best players suited to the occasion in as early as possible, but India maybe might have had a different game plan,'' Pointing said.

He said the series has been closely fought and the cricket has been much tougher and tighter then the scoreline suggests.

The Aussie captain also refused to name any one player as the star of the tour, saying that ''In such a series it requires all the players to contribute and that is what has happened. If there have been batting collapses than one batsman has taken it on himself to bail the team out and it has been the same with the bowling, so to single out any one player as the star is not fair.'' Ponting further praised Symonds saying that ''Symonds has now become a more mature player than he was five or six years ago. He now understands his game better and therefore become more consistent with his performance.'' Andrew Symonds, the man of match, who was also present at the press conference, said that this has been a pretty special innings for him. ''Everytime we had a partnership going we used to lose a wicket, so I needed to stay there and I am happy that I did so and was able to take the team to such a big score.'' On his column in which he criticized the Indian crowds and authorities, he said that what he was written was only fair and honest. Speaking about the 'monkey chants' incident, he said that ''when the authorities come up and deny that such a thing had ever happened is more disappointing than the actual incident and I hope they can handle such type of situations better.'' UNI GS OBB TB RAI1910

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