Ponting backs fast bowlers to quell Gayle's inexperienced team

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Melbourne, Feb 7(ANI): Australian skipper Ricky Ponting has backed his fast bowlers to contain West Indies captain Chris Gayle and his team in the one-day series starting at the MCG from Sunday.

Ponting also claimed to have assembled the best fast-bowling group in the world after the West Indies captain coolly tipped his team to thump Australia in the series.

Gayle has predicted said that the West Indies would win the series 4-1 despite Australia taking a stranglehold on the 50-over format in recent months and the Calypso outfit being weakened by injuries to experienced players.

"I think the depth we have got now as far as our fast-bowling goes is outstanding. It would have to be the best group of fast bowlers anywhere in the world at the moment," The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Ponting, as saying.

"We were most stretched in India in the one-day series [last October] when five or six of our guys were injured back in Australia, but most of them have come back pretty well," he added.

The 34-year-old further believes that despite the absence of Brett Lee, Ben Hilfenhaus and Peter Siddle, his bowlers can control the West Indies batsmen.

"I don't really care what he [Gayle] has got to say as far as results go. All I can say is I am pretty confident we can keep improving. We have got a pretty good idea of what we need to do," Ponting said.

"We know the lines and lengths we want to bowl to him [Gayle], and we will be trying to put him under as much pressure as we can early on and take our chances if they come.

Once he gets off to a good start and starts hitting the ball cleanly he is pretty hard to stop, so we have to have a number of different plans to fall back on," he added.

The Australians have won 20 of the 24 games they have played since the Ashes and are undefeated in any form of cricket this summer.

In contrast, the West Indies have lost their last eight games against Australia, and will be missing four of their experienced performers in Dwayne Bravo, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Jerome Taylor. (ANI)

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