Ponting praise for England

Australia captain Ricky Ponting paid generous tribute to England after his side fell to an innings and 157-run defeat in Melbourne.

Ponting, 36, so badly out of form with the bat in this series, is likely to face calls for his resignation from several quarters.

"We've learnt a lot about how to play very good Test cricket from some of the cricket that the English team have played over the last few weeks," said Ponting.

"I'm disappointed with the way this series has gone for us so far, really disappointed at the way this week has turned out for us after having such a good week last week.

"But I think the really important thing we need to do is pay credit to England and the way they played for the whole tour."

Ponting, who has had a second X-ray on the little finger he broke in his team's win at the WACA, will doubtless face many awkward questions before the final Test.

He will answer them all without fail, but made sure he gave England due praise first.

"Apart from the third Test, they've played a really high level of cricket the whole way through - not only this series, but the tour games as well," he added.

"Credit to them for the way they prepared."