October 26, 2000

Ponting starts the season with a bang

Ricky Ponting started his season of first-class cricket in dazzling style today. The dashing Tasmanian right-hander has gone to stumps on 207 not out on the opening day of the Pura Cup match against Queensland at Allan Border Field, Brisbane.

Ponting dominated the Tasmanian Tigers' innings today. After Tasmanian captain Jamie Cox won the toss and elected to bat, the Tigers are 5/356 at stumps.

Ponting's 28th first-class century was scored after he came to crease with Tasmania in a spot of early bother at 2/10, Cox (0) and Di Venuto (5) both departing in the first seven overs at the hands of Adam Dale and Andy Bichel respectively. In just under five and a half hours at the crease today, Ponting faced 277 balls and blasted an amazing 33 fours and four sixes.

He was especially severe on Queensland left-arm spinner Matthew Anderson, whom he struck at one point of the day for a six and three fours off successive deliveries. Ponting's first hundred came from 148 deliveries, and his second from 122.

Ponting's best support of the day came from Daniel Marsh (61) and Shaun Young, who contributed 22 out of a 101-run partnership for the fifth wicket.

Most successful of the Queensland bowlers was Andy Bichel, with 3/91. Promising fast bowler Ashley Noffke (0/112) did not have such a good day.

When play resumes tomorrow morning, Ponting will need four more to equal his highest score in first-class cricket, 211 for Tasmania against Western Australia at Bellerive Oval, Hobart, in 1994-95. With him in the morning will be Andrew Dykes (23*).