Australian captain Ricky Ponting on Sunday rated the hard-fought ODI series victory against India in the same bracket as his country's World Cup and Champions Trophy victories and one of the "special" triumphs in his career.
"We have won a lot of series here in India. But this one (series triumph) will be up there with some of the specials that I played in, including our Champions Trophy and World Cup wins," Ponting said after Australia's six-wicket victory over India in the sixth one-dayer in Guwahati.
Ponting gave full credit to his young players for sealing the series and said their performance was an encouraging sign for Australia's 2011 World Cup campaign at the sub-continent.
"It's really satisfying when the so-called younger and less experienced guys coming into the side and really pop their chest to be part of a successful side. Full credit to them, we cannot have asked for anything better," said Ponting.
"I cannot be any more proud from this group, they have got together, they have put their best game together to win the series. It's really a positive thing for Australian cricket. We are coming back to India to play World Cup, whatever exposure the youngsters get will be a positive for them," Ponting said.
He said winning the series against India at their own backyard and with so many injury problems was satisfying.
"India were breathing down our neck at number two spot and with their home conditions we knew what was ahead of us. We had well-documented injuries but we stuck to our plans. It's good that the guys responded really well.
"Our back was on the wall with some the guys coming straight from the Champions League Twenty20 run-down. But we managed well," said Ponting.
Showering praise on man-of-the-match Doug Bollinger, who grabbed five wickets today, Ponting said, "He bowled brilliantly, starting from his first game back in Delhi. To get five wickets on a pitch which did not offer much to the fast bowlers is a terrific reward."
Ponting also supported Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni's decision to bat first after winning the toss.
"I would also have opted to bat in this morning today. India must be thinking of seeing the new ball off as the wicket got better from there," he said.
"I don't think it was a 27/5 wicket. Our bowlers did a great job. The way they started after second ball of the day went for six was really remarkable. We used the new ball very well and made the most of whatever was there this morning.
"Couple of good balls when Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir got out. Yuvraj Singh was unlucky to get out. But those things happen when you create pressure," Ponting said.
Ponting felt his side was lucky that Sehwag did not have a good going against them in this series.
"I guess we are a little bit lucky with him he has not really taken on us." PTI