Australia drops to fifth in Test ranking

Australia’s beaten Test players will fly home on Thursday while a pared back limited overs squad prepares to face India in three matches.

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Captain Ricky Ponting, Shane Watson and Mitchell Johnson have all been rested from the series, while Test match specialists Simon Katich, Peter George and Marcus North are also on their way to home ports.

They will have an opportunity to rest and also re-adjust to Australian conditions, their mastery of which will be pivotal to the quest for the Ashes.

Australia will enter the Ashes series on the back of their worst Test match losing streak for 22 years after India cruised to a seven-wicket victory in Bangalore.

Australia last lost three in a row in 1988-89 and have now dropped to fifth on the ICC rankings, behind England.

Captain Ricky Ponting, Shane Watson and Mitcehll Johnson have all been rested from the three-match one-day series beginning this weekend and will fly home today with Test specialists Simon Katich, Peter George and Marcus North.

Ponting said his men had to re-train their sights quickly on the home summer.

“We played very, very well for the majority of the first Test. We played pretty well for the majority of this Test match,” said Ponting after a seven-wicket loss in the second Test.

“India deserve to have won both the games but I think, even if you ask them, they’d be a bit flattered by that end result.

“There have been some positives, some negatives, but we’ve got to move on pretty quickly now.

“Our next Test is at the Gabba against England at the start of the Ashes series and we have to make sure we play five good, long, tough days of Test match cricket then.”

The one-day series will provide a challenge for vice-captain Michael Clarke, who made only 35 runs from four completed innings in the Test series.

It will also offer a chance for Nathan Hauritz to repair some of the damage to his standing that was meted out by India’s Test batsmen, who limited him to just six wickets at a cost of 65 apiece while he leaked 4.3 runs per over.

India, meanwhile, have chosen to rest frontline players Sachin Tendulkar, Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha during the limited-overs series.

They will also be without the Delhi trio of Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Ishant Sharma due to injuries.

The three-match series will be held at Kochi (October 17), Vizag (October 20) and Margao, Goa (October 24).