Ponting passes Border as Australia's top run-scorer
Ricky Ponting has become Australia's leading Test run-scorer after passing Allan Border's mark of 11,174 during the third Test at Edgbaston. Ponting, playing his 134th match, started the innings needing 25 to step into third place on the all-time list and resumed on the second morning on 17.
He achieved the milestone in the fourth over of the day after taking only five balls to reach the target during an eventful start. After two wickets fell to the first two deliveries, Ponting ran a single to mid-on, thick edged a four through gully and added a one to mid-off, all from Graham Onions. He then took three from Andrew Flintoff with a flick through midwicket and stopped to raise his bat and receive a pat from Michael Clarke before getting back to business.
However, he didn't stay long and was caught behind trying to hook Onions on 38, standing his ground until Aleem Dar gave him out. He walked off with the mark at 11,188.
Border's 16-year, 156-Test career ended in South Africa in 1994 and he retired as the game's most prolific batsman, a record he held until Brian Lara stepped up in Adelaide in 2005-06. Lara retired with 11,953 runs in 131 Tests and has since been relegated to second by Sachin Tendulkar, who has 12,773 in 159 matches.
It appeared Ponting would be able to overtake Tendulkar when the Indian's career seemed to be winding down a couple of years ago, but he has continued to score heavily and will probably take the mark out of Ponting's reach. Ponting is 34 but when asked earlier in the series if he would be in England for the 2013 tour he joked he would need a wheelchair.
Border, a former captain, national selector, and current CA director, praised Ponting as a worthy holder of the new Australian Test run-scoring record. "Clearly, I am a great admirer, having been involved in Ricky's selection in many great Australian sides, and having enjoyed watching him closely on more occasions than I can remember as a cricket media commentator as well," Border said.
Ponting's batting is crucial to his side's Ashes chances and he knows he must fire over the remaining three Tests to avoid becoming the first Australian captain in more than 100 years to lose twice in England. He started well with 150 in Cardiff but fell for 2 and 38 as Australia were defeated in the second Test at Lord's. Australia's other post-war record holders were Don Bradman (6996) and Greg Chappell (7110).
Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo