Aussie stars save Test careers

Johannesburg, Nov 22: In under four hours of Test cricket, star trio Ricky Ponting, Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson almost certainly saved themselves from the selection axe.
Ricky Ponting (62), Brad Haddin (55) and Mitchell Johnson (40 not out) were on the chopping block before being instrumental in Australia's second-innings run chase of 310, a record for The Wanderers in Johannesburg.
With the series-levelling second Test victory over South Africa by two wickets secured, there'll be strong argument to retain the trio for the first Test against New Zealand starting on December 1.
However, there were good reasons why such established players were under threat in the first place, and the new selection panel will be careful not to let the emotion of victory cloud their judgment.
Australian cricket is in a significant transition period and the media speculation about the futures of Ponting, Haddin and Johnson weren't personal attacks or agenda-driven - they were simply stating cold facts.
Ponting and Haddin didn't have a score of note for the past 12 months, while Johnson still hasn't taken more than two wickets in a match since last summer's Ashes.
To an extent, the trio did shove it back in the faces of critics.
It's important to note that captain and new selector Michael Clarke is emphatic in his support for all three, and unequivocal in his backing of elder statesmen Ponting and Haddin.
'I hope they proved themselves once again to you guys (media) and to the people that do doubt them,' said Clarke.
'They don't need to prove anything to anybody in that change room and they certainly don't need to prove anything to me.'
Ricky, 39 Test hundreds and the best batting statistics apart from Bradman as an Australian player. If that doesn't prove something, I don't know what does.

Lastupdate on : Tue, 22 Nov 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 22 Nov 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 23 Nov 2011 00:00:00 IST

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