Australia v England, 1st Test, Brisbane, 1st day November 23, 2006

Revenge not on Ponting's mind



Ricky Ponting: 'It didn't have anything to do with the last series' © Getty Images
Ricky Ponting doesn't want anybody to look too deeply into the exuberant celebration for his 32nd Test century. His wife Rianna was in the stands and her attendance was appreciated, but Ponting's running, jumping, bat-swinging dance and rare split-watermelon smile apparently did not relate to Ashes revenge.

"It didn't have anything to do with the last series or anything," Ponting said. "It was all about getting out there and doing it and getting off to a good note in the series. It's a good start for us."

As Ponting left the ground he learned he had matched Steve Waugh as Australia's leading century-maker with 32. The outright record should soon be his, but for a man who is happy to scan the Sydney first-grade results on the weekend, he doesn't care much about his own impressive marks. "It's nice," he said, "but what's even nicer is we're 3 for 346 at the end of the day."

Ponting eased to his hundred from 136 balls but slowed after reaching the milestone and remained unbeaten on 137. Australia started the day strongly through Justin Langer's 82 and ended it the same way with a stand of 148 between Ponting and Michael Hussey, who was 63.

Langer's opening flurry set the tone and was a personal relief, showing he could still cope with the Test demands after being knocked out by Makhaya Ntini in his previous match. It also shut the door on an early series entry for Phil Jaques, the New South Wales opener.

"It was brilliant," Ponting said. "It was exactly what we needed and what Justin needed. For ten years of his career he's been trying to prove someone wrong and he did it again today to give us the exact start we needed."

The early bursts from Langer included some severe treatment for Steve Harmison, who delivered only 12 overs and struggled with nerves. "I was surprised he didn't bowl a little bit more," Ponting said. "Our guys played him pretty well today, but we know he's a dangerous bowler. We've all seen that before."

Peter English is the Australasian editor of Cricinfo