Ponting leads another Australian juggernaut
Australia went into the 2003 World Cup final against India unbeaten in the tournament, and by the end of the match he proved how well they had reinvented themselves, despite the absence of key players.
Against India, it came down to the brilliance of one man, Ricky Ponting, who left his mark on his first World Cup as captain with a scintillating hundred that gave the side a clear advantage even before India had batted.
It helped that Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden had given Australia the perfect start, adding 105 in 14 overs. It helped Ponting play himself in and he did so duly with Damien Martyn for company.
Martyn set the tone for the partnership, with some gorgeous strokes through the covers en route to 50 from just 46 balls. Ponting, in contrast, needed 74 balls for his half-century, hitting just one four along the way. Something in his batting changed once he crossed 50, though, and what came next can only be described as carnage.
Harbhajan was taken for two sixes over midwicket, and there was an outrageous one-handed swipe off Ashish Nehra that sailed over the square-leg fence. India's bowling was ripped to pieces. The century partnership had taken 109 balls, but only 64 were needed for the next 100 as the run rate soared. Ponting took just 29 deliveries to get from 50 to 100, finishing with a stunning 140 from 121 balls. He thumped eight sixes, all in the arc between long-on and square leg, and the stunning acceleration deflected attention from Martyn's gem - an 84-ball 88 made with a broken finger.
All but 24 of Ponting's runs came on the leg side, illustrating just how wayward India's bowlers were in both line and length. Australia amassed a mammoth 359 for 2, a World Cup record they bettered in the 2007 edition when their top order flayed South Africa to score 377 for 6 in Basseterre. India mustered only 234, as Australia got their hands on the World Cup for the second successive time.