June 9, 2002

Ponting excited after easy warm up win


BRISBANE, June 9 AAP - Ricky Ponting can hardly wait for his first domestic appearance as national one-day cricket captain after a sparkling warm-up victory by his team today.

Australia brushed aside a youthful Queensland outfit at Allan Border Field, sending a message of intent to Super Challenge II opponent Pakistan prior to Wednesday's series opener at Melbourne's Colonial Stadium.

After sweeping to 7-226 off their 40 overs as opener Matthew Hayden top scored with 78, Ponting's men put the locals to the sword to record a 72-run win. Shane Warne showing his new trim-line look has not dulled his effectiveness as Queensland was restricted to 8-154.

Leg spinner Warne finished with 2-19 from his eight overs, continuing the good work begun by pace spearheads Glenn McGrath (2-25) and Brett Lee (2-27).

Queensland wicket-keeper Chris Hartley took advantage of regular `keeper Wade Seccombe's secondment to the Australian team for today's game in place of Adam Gilchrist, top-scoring for his team with 34 not out.

Gilchrist did not play due to a family commitment.

Ponting said he was excited about leading his country in front of home fans for the first time since making his captaincy debut after replacing Steve Waugh as the one-day skipper in South Africa earlier this year.

"It's something that everyone dreams of doing and it's less than a week away for me now so I'm really looking forward to it," he said.

Australia is unlikely to tamper with its first choice opening combination of Hayden and Gilchrist for the first match against Pakistan despite another bright showing by Jimmy Maher at the top of the order.

Maher hit a brisk 60 off 43 balls to get Australia off to a flying start against Queensland but Ponting said he expected the Bulls left-hander would continue to occupy the role of the batting "floater" in the team.

"He showed in South Africa that he can bat anywhere in the order and it's good to know that we've got that kind of flexibility with our squad," said Ponting. Hayden and Maher put on 85 in the first 12 overs before Maher fell.

Australia then experienced a mini-collapse, losing 4-12 with captain Ricky Ponting (3), Damien Martyn (1) and Darren Lehmann (0) all dismissed cheaply.

But Hayden and Michael Bevan (17) put on an 87-run partnership to provide a handy pointer to Australia's prospects for the opening Super Challenge series match against Pakistan in Melbourne on Wednesday.

Queensland off-spinner Nathan Hauritz produced his second stand-out performance with the ball in as many days, finishing with 1-17 off eight overs.

Australia will travel to Melbourne tomorrow to prepare for the opening game of the three-game series, with the next two games at Colonial Stadium on Wednesday and Saturday, before the two teams return to Brisbane for the final match on June 19 at the Gabba.