Sydney, Nov.13 : The New Zealand cricket team see captain Ricky Ponting as the key to their chances of beating Australia in the two-Test series that gets underway from tomorrow.
New Zealand paceman Chris Martin, who will lead a likely four-pronged pace attack on the hard and fast Brisbane surface, said Ponting's wicket remained the key for the tourists.
"He's the guy who has the grit and determination for everyone to bat around. He doesn't do it every time but there's always someone there to back him up as well. He is the linchpin of their batting order and he can either grind it out or take the game away from you just as quickly. He's a great opponent, stuff.co.nz quoted fast bowler Chris Martin, as saying.
"You have to raise your game which is the most exciting prospect for all of us," he added.
Statistics back that up, with Ponting averaging 73.45 from 11 tests against New Zealand, including 105 and 86 not out in their previous meeting in Auckland in 2005.
While Martin was relishing the challenge of bowling to Ponting again, he was unsure whether the recent Indian furore would have any effect on the premier batsman's mental state.
"I think he's been through tougher times. I don't know exactly how he's feeling, he got some pretty good deliveries in India, so fair play to them," he said.
Last time Martin was in Australia on a test tour, the Black Caps suffered heavy defeats in Brisbane and Adelaide four years ago.
While the tourists are arguably no stronger this time, it's clear the hosts aren't the all-conquering force they were in the mid-2000s.