LEEDS, England - Australia captain Ricky Ponting is more than happy to keep getting booed by English crowds during the remainder of the Ashes series because, as far as he's concerned, that means he's playing well.
Ponting has found himself on the receiving end of taunts from home fans during the second and third Tests of the five-match Ashes series, which England lead 1-0.
So concerned is Giles Clarke, the England and Wales Cricket Board chairperson, he has issued a plea to spectators in the programme for the fourth Test, which starts at Headingley in Leeds today, to respect all players.
But for Ponting, Test cricket's third-highest run scorer, it is all part and parcel of the job.
"He (Clarke) should have done it three Tests ago," Ponting jokingly told reporters at Headingley on Wednesday. "There's not much I can do about it. I'll just take it with a grain of salt. I've almost expected it after the first day at Lord's (where England won the second Test by 115 runs).
Of greater concern to Ponting has been Australia's first-innings performance in the last two Tests. They were bowled out for 215 at Lord's and 263 in the drawn third Test at Edgbaston.
Australia fought back in both matches but Ponting said: "So far in this series, the thing I've been disappointed about the most is we've really only played our best cricket when we've had our backs to the wall. England have been able to get a bit of momentum back and we've been fighting against it."
Australia have been pondering whether to recall injured fast bowler Brett Lee. - AFP