MELBOURNE, Dec 30: Australian skipper Ricky Ponting says spinner Brad Hogg will be a better and more confident bowler in Wednesday’s second Test against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Hogg, singled out as a weakness by the Indian team before the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne, responded with four match wickets, including Saurav Ganguly twice, in Australia’s huge 337-run victory inside four days.

The left-arm wrist-spinner delighted Ponting and his team-mates with his clever use of the flipper (or faster ball) which brought Ganguly undone.

He played a sizeable role in demolishing the tourists for sub-200 totals in both innings.

Hogg’s performance and his unbeaten 35 in the second innings with sixes off Indian spinners Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh has guaranteed him a further match in Sydney and clouded the Test future of injured leg-spinner Stuart MacGill.

After weathering an early onslaught from Sachin Tendulkar on day two, Hogg regained composure and became a dependable option for Ponting, suffocating the Indian batsmen with a full length, and befuddling them with his wrong ‘un.

“Gilly (vice-captain Adam Gilchrist) and I spoke in the first innings about Hoggy and the way the Indian batsmen were looking to be really aggressive and positive against him,” Ponting said after Saturday’s win.

“We wanted to be able to keep him on and be able to manufacture a couple of wickets for him. We kept him on, hoping he could get a few wickets and get a bit of confidence.

“He did that in the first innings and he knocked Ganguly over with one of the best flippers you’ll ever see and he got Yuvraj (Singh) with another great flipper.

“There’s no doubt he’s got a lot of confidence out of this game and I think you will see a better and different bowler when we go to Sydney.”

Hogg, 36, playing his first Test in four years, has now taken 13 wickets in five Tests at 45.00 and looking for more wickets on the renowned SCG turner later this week.—AFP


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