Ponting praises his champions under pressure

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Ricky Ponting toasted Australia's ability to perform under pressure after they thrashed West Indies by eight wickets to win the ICC Champions Trophy.

Ponting's men return home tomorrow to prepare for the Ashes with a spring in their step after they decimated West Indies' batting at the Brabourne Stadium.

When Chris Gayle and Shivnarine Chanderpaul spent the first half an hour of the contest dispatching the ball beyond the ropes, the holders appeared to mean business.

Although the Windies' 50 came up in only the sixth over, however, Australia seized the initiative through Nathan Bracken's triple strike and a target of 139, reduced to 116 from 35 overs after rain caused a two-hour stoppage, caused few alarms.

"When we play in big games and finals that is when we tend to play our best cricket and that is what has happened over the last couple of weeks," said Ponting.

"I was really wanting to see their side batting under pressure.

"We put them under pressure after a couple of quick wickets and full credit to our bowlers for the way they came back after that initial onslaught.

"Nathan Bracken was terrific; he was probably the difference in the game.

"They came at us very hard early on and the reason I opened the bowling with him was because I thought he had a good chance of getting the left-handers out and he got both Chanderpaul and Gayle."

Veterans Glenn McGrath and Damien Martyn both feel they have points to prove in the forthcoming Ashes and each continued their recent good form.

McGrath was smashed for 22 runs in his first two overs but crucially snared Brian Lara to finish with figures of 7-3-26-2 while Martyn's unflustered, unbeaten 48 saw his side home alongside Shane Watson.

"I don't think what we have done here will have any bearing on the Ashes at all," said Ponting.

"But it is great to see Damien batting as well as he has done for a long time and Glenn is getting better game by game.

"There are lots of positives for us but the main one is winning the Champions Trophy.

"We will enjoy the moment before getting ready for a big Test series."

West Indies defeated the Australians on the same ground earlier in the tournament but, while they recovered from a shaky start on that occasion, this was a different matter.

Just as in September's DLF Cup final between the sides, Lara's team mustered a paltry score.

"Australia played better cricket," Lara admitted.

"We had their backs to the wall in the first 10 overs of the game but they never say die and got right back into it.

"We got a great start but lost wickets in groups, we had another collapse and in our two recent finals we were unable to score 150 in either.

"We didn't bat smart. If we had pulled back the throttle and scored at five an over after 15 or 20 overs we would have got in excess of 225 and that was a fighting total on such a pitch."

Despite going into the event as defending champions, West Indies surprised by emerging from Group A and playing some of the best cricket of anyone before choking on the showpiece occasion.

"You could say the fact they (Australia) have been in many finals recently played a part but we were not expected to be here and that shows we are making strides forward," Lara added.