South Africa v Australia, 5th ODI, Johannesburg March 13, 2006

Ponting in awe of Gibbs

Cricinfo staff



Herschelle Gibbs was out for 175 in the 32nd over © Getty Images

Ricky Ponting has praised Herschelle Gibbs's "amazing" batting that launched South Africa to a mind-blowing one-wicket victory after Australia set a world-record 434 for 4. Gibbs pummelled 175 from 111 balls in a sensational reply before Mark Boucher's unbeaten half-century sealed the win with a ball to spare in what is already being called the greatest one-day game in history.

"We had no defence mechanisms whatsoever against the way they were hitting the ball," Ponting told AAP. "Herschelle was out in the 32nd over for 175 - that's amazing batting. We obviously bowled very, very poorly, but they certainly played exceptionally well and deserved the win."

Ponting's batting was also special - his 164 came from only 105 balls - but he did not accept the joint Man-of-the-Match award, preferring to give it to Gibbs. "I don't know where that innings came from; I don't think I've played better," Gibbs said in The Guardian. "We were smashing the ball everywhere early on, but I looked up at the scoreboard and we still needed 350 to win. We couldn't have batted any quicker and the total still wasn't coming down."

Graeme Smith, who belted 90 off 55 balls, described their success as "a bit sick really". "The pitch was great but you can't sit down and plan to chase 434," he said. "We said it was a freaky game at the halfway point, so who knows. Our initial target was 185 in 25 overs but we got way past that. It's a massive night for all of us."

Mark Boucher, who hit the winning runs, hailed the stunning victory as "one of my best moments in cricket". "It's one of my best moments in cricket so far," Boucher told Sky Sports. "We always knew we'd be up against it. We tried to keep it simple, we knew we had to get a good start and Herschelle [Gibbs] and Graeme [Smith] did fantastically well. It was something special to watch. It's fantastic. I'm lost for words."

Ponting was angry at what has become a regular occurrence. "We can't defend totals," he said. "There was always a chance because we did it, but there is no way they should have scored that many runs." However, he told AAP it was "just an amazing day". "You just can't fathom the sort of batting that has taken place today," he said.

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