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Nov 23, 2010

Doherty will best Pietersen: Ricky Ponting

Australia skipper Ricky Ponting on Monday backed uncapped Xavier Doherty to best England batsman Kevin Pietersen during the Ashes series 2010/11, saying the spinner was ready for the tourists' top order.

Xavier Doherty was included in Australia's Ashes team over Nathan Hauritz - a decision retired spin legend Shane Warne slammed on micro blogging site Twitter as "very very harsh on Hauritz" who he said "deserved first break at poms".

Xavier DohertyBut Ricky Ponting said left-arm orthodox spinner Doherty, 28, had been impressive in recent Sheffield Shield domestic matches for Tasmania while Nathan Hauritz had "lost his action".

"Seeing him up close and personal for those couple of games probably gave me a bit more of an idea of how good he was because I haven't played much with him in the last few years," Ponting said.

"He's a good solid character as well and I think he'll handle the situation pretty well and I think we saw that in his 1st ODI Cricket Match at the MCG."

Doherty took four wickets on his ODI debut against Sri Lanka at the MCG on November 3.

"I think he'll be ready for what the English batters try and do," Ponting said.

Pietersen has a patchy record against left-arm orthodox bowlers and was dismissed by Australia A spinner Steve O'Keefe, also a left-arm orthodox, during a tour match in Hobart last week.

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