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If Ricky Ponting has not told his players, as they plan another defeat of South Africa in the forthcoming third Test over a couple of cold beers in Cape Town, that they are good enough to whitewash England 5-0 this summer, then he is not the man the world thinks he is.

The Australian captain was the only person in his dressing room who thought the Adelaide Test of 2006 was winnable after England had enjoyed the run of the first two days but he was proved right on that occasion. And he could argue now with more than a hint of justification that his team should be setting their sights high – very high – when they travel to England to renew old rivalries.

Ponting’s is a team hungry for success. They are a healthy mixture of old heads and ambitious newcomers and, after the setbacks late last year in India and at home to South Africa, they are enjoying the fruits of their labours in South Africa.

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