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A Season of Tests, Turmoil and Twenty20 Few Australian cricket captains have had a tougher time than that experienced by Ricky Ponting in 2008-09 - a controversial test tour of India, series home and away against South Africa, more than 30 ODIs, the ICC World twenty20. And, finally, the fight for the Ashes. Ponting began the year with a better winning percentage than any other captain in test history, but this adventure ended in disappointment, as his young side fell just short in England after a typically dramatic confrontation. the task of replacing recently retired champions such as Warne, McGrath, Gilchrist and Hayden is still a work in progress. However, this is a story with many positives, as Ponting's Australians produced a number of impressive performances, most notably in South Africa, when they stunned the home side in consecutive matches, and at Leeds, when they completed one of the most decisive test wins of recent times. the emergence of young guns such as Mitchell Johnson, Ben Hilfenhaus, Phillip Hughes and Peter Siddle points to an exciting future. throughout the period of cricket recalled in Ashes Diary 2009, Ponting played with a steely spirit that impressed many observers, including the Guardian newspaper which, after the final Ashes test, wrote, 'Staring down the barrel of a loss that must have hurt more than any other in his career, Ponting showed what a class act he is.' During the series, he had become Australia's highest test run-scorer. At the end, the crowd at the Oval gave him an extended standing ovation. this insider's account follows the path that led to this increased respect. It had been quite a year ...

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