Ponting blames batsmen for defeat

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Brisbane, Mar 4 (UNI) Disappointed over the loss to India in the CB Series finals, Australian captain Ricky Ponting blamed his batsmen for failing to deliver the goods.

''The batting has been inconsistent and my form has been awful all the way through the series,'' Ponting said. ''When you're batting at number 3, you need to take up a lot of that responsibility. I haven't done that and I'm as guilty as anyone for that.'' Australia slumped to 3 for 32 and were 5 for 123 when Andrew Symonds was lbw to Harbhajan Singh for 42. Michael Hussey resisted with a gutsy 44 and when he departed James Hopes gave Australia a slim chance of taking the series to the third game in Adelaide.

However, he was the last man out for 63 and they fell nine runs short of victory.

''I always felt we were behind,'' Ponting said. ''James did a terrific job to get us close with a very sensible and mature innings. But being around the team for a while, when Symonds got out, I thought that wicket would mean we would be one wicket short at the end. That's how it turned out.'' ''It's a disappointing way to finish the summer,'' he added.

''We dominated this series right up until the final hurdle, but we fell at the final hurdle. In these last two finals we've been a little bit off the mark.'' UNI XC AB RAR HS2138

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