India Proved they are Number Two Team : Ponting

ADELAIDE, Jan 28: After scraping past a spirited India to win the engrossing home Test series, Australian captain Ricky Ponting and his retiring deputy Adam Gilchrist said Anil Kumble and his teammates have confirmed their status as the second best team in the world.

Ponting said though his team won the Border-Gavaskar trophy after winning the four-match series 2-1, India could return home their head held high.

"It was an enjoyable series, a hard-fought contest over the last one month. India played some very good cricket and proved that they are the number two team in the world," Ponting said.

Gilchrist, who hung up his gloves after the Test, said though his side had surrendered the Ashes to an England team in 2005, the Indian side under Kumble was second only to Australia.

"This team is right up there. Maybe we lost the Ashes in 2005 to an England side that was a terrific combination but this Indian side is even better," Gilchrist said.

According to him, new crop of fast bowlers had lent balance to the Indian side, which looked formidable even when playing abroad.

"I think India's fast bowlers make them a very competitive outfit. Ishant (Sharma) has been lethal in the series, while RP Singh is rising fast. Though Zaheer (Khan) returned home with an injury, Irfan (Pathan) is back. It's an encouraging sight," Gilchrist said.

"India have wonderful spinners and very talented batting line-up but it's their fast bowlers which make them more formidable even abroad," he added.

Kumble too felt his side had done enough to own the number two tag.

"If you look back at the two Tests foreign teams have won in Australia, it's us on both occasion. I think we can naturally claim the number two tag," he said.

"It is always a challenge to come to Australia and do well. We showed that Indian cricket is here, competing with the best and I'm proud of the effort of my team, Kumble said.

And the team has the potential to move up even further, said the veteran spinner.

"Yes, we have the potential to be the number one as well, especially with the kind of bowlers and batsmen we have."

"We all return from Australia as better players and the team also should play well in the forthcoming series," Kumble said.


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