Ponting hails Kumble as great competitor

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New Delhi, Nov 2(UNI) Hailing Anil Kumble as a 'great competitor', Australian skipper Ricky Ponting today said the spinner has served India for a long time.

''I would like to congratulate Anil for his long and successful career. He is a great competitor and every single player of my team, who has played against him, is proud of the cricketer,'' Ponting said after the third Test, which ended in a draw at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground here today.

''I wish he will enjoy his time after the game,'' Ponting added.

About the match, Ponting expressed satisfaction the way his batsmen fought back in this Test but added that there were still areas for improvement before the Nagpur Test.

''During the first two days, Indians were looking terrific. But the remaining three days were quite good for us.

''Our batsmen including Matthew Hayden and Michael Clarke played really well later in the match,'' the visiting skipper said.

Ponting, who played a big role in his team's fightback with solid 87, also lavished praise on the Indian batsmen, for their commendable performance.

''Almost every batsman of India got big scores, which helped them post a 600-plus score,'' he said.

''We are looking at the next Test, where we have to make sure that Indians don't get the chance to make such a big score,'' he added.

He also had words of encouragment for his main attack bowler Brett Lee. ''He has surely improved in the second innings, but he still has more to do before the next encounter.'' UNI HSB RAR AS1809

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