Ponting plugs a gap in his record
Ricky Ponting doesn't bury himself in statistics but he knew he hadn't scored a one-day hundred at the Gabba. He has one now after his 106 provided the platform for a ground-record score of 7 for 324 that set up a 3-0 series victory over West Indies.
It was Chris Gayle's men who started a testing summer for Ponting, but over the past eight days he has scored 49, 57, 22 and 106 against them to return to something approaching peak form. "I have been working pretty hard with the coaching staff on a few little things and I have probably had a few better situations to bat in as well lately," Ponting said. "I have been in a little earlier and it has freed me to play a few shots against the new ball, which I always enjoy doing. I have also been able to get off to some reasonable starts with my scoring rate which generally makes things a little easier."
Ponting told his players before the game not to let an opportunity slip to post a big score and they followed the message on the way to a one-sided, 50-run victory. "To bat first and post that sort of a total - the highest total ever at the Gabba - that is really satisfying and is a great reward and great result for the team," he said. "We were a little disappointed with our batting as a group in Sydney and a couple of games before that we have been in good situations and not capitalised. But I thought we were terrific today."
The result was basically sealed when Gayle departed in the seventh over, but Narsingh Deonarine, Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Smith reached half-centuries as the game wound down. In the Test series, West Indies lost 2-0 while performing strongly over extended periods, but this result reflects the quality of the unit, which is missing seven of its main men.
"We're disappointed we lost the series 3-0 so far," Gayle said. "We're up against a top team, a good all-round team, and we test ourselves as players and characters. It's a learning experience for them."
Gayle expected Australia to come back hard after they were held to 225 in Friday's washout and realised in the early stages that his side was in trouble. "We knew they were going to do their homework after the last game in Sydney, they were in a bit of a negative zone, and they wanted to show from ball one," he said. "Shane Watson got off to a flyer and Ricky played a beautiful innings in getting a hundred. They set the tone for a decent total and we were asking for trouble given they started so well."
Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo