Ponting ploughs on and on

Andrew Miller

April 20, 2003

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After a soul-destroying first day at the Queen's Park Oval, West Indies resumed the second Test against Australia with a heavy air of resignation. With nearly 400 runs on the board already, and with Ricky Ponting and Adam Gilchrist champing at the bit, early wickets were nothing less than a necessity.

In that respect, Brian Lara's early approach was somewhat perverse. The new ball was ready and waiting for West Indies, but instead of revving up his pacemen, Lara turned to the diffident offspin of Marlon Samuels, as Ponting and Gilchrist settled in for a 25-minute net.

Ponting duly eased Samuels off his legs to trot through to his third score of 150 in eight Tests, and it was only when Vasbert Drakes rapped him on the knuckles with a mischievous lifter, that Lara was prompted to change his approach.

At least yesterday's flow of boundaries was stemmed - today's first didn't arrive until the eighth over, a Drakes half-tracker that Ponting swatted through his favourite midwicket region. Although the pitch continued to show the odd sign of unevenness, a long, hot and bothersome day was in prospect for the West Indians.

Andrew Miller is assistant editor of Wisden Cricinfo in London.

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Andrew Miller Andrew Miller was saved from a life of drudgery in the City when his car caught fire on the way to an interview. He took this as a sign and fled to Pakistan where he witnessed England's historic victory in the twilight at Karachi (or thought he did, at any rate - it was too dark to tell). He then joined Wisden Online in 2001, and soon graduated from put-upon photocopier to a writer with a penchant for comment and cricket on the subcontinent. In addition to Pakistan, he has covered England tours in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the World Cup in the Caribbean in 2007
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