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May 30, 2008
Ricky Ponting has become the seventh man to join the 10,000-run Test club, moving alongside Steve Waugh and Allan Border as the only Australian members of the elite group. Ponting, 33, reached the milestone by advancing to the part-time legspinner Ramnaresh Sarwan and cover-driving for two, taking him from 59 to 61.
He acknowledged the achievement with a subdued wave of the bat and accepted the congratulations from his partner Simon Katich. There was a standing ovation from the Australia players in the dressing room and from a contingent of Australian spectators at the ground, but the small crowd at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium made it a muted occasion.
Ponting was unable to move far past the mark and finished the innings with 10,004 runs after getting a thick edge to slip on 65. He achieved the feat in his 118th Test, making him the second-fastest man to five figures behind Brian Lara, who arrived there in his 111th game.
"It's taken 13 years of international cricket to get 10,000 Test runs," Ponting said after play. "Everyone growing up wishes they could do it, but the thing I'm most proud about is my longevity in the game. To play so many Tests, I'm proud of that record. As a top-order batsman, if you play that many games, you're probably expected to get close on 10,000."
The other three men to have scored so heavily are the Indian trio of Rahul Dravid, who joined the club two months ago, Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar. Ponting expects Tendulkar's record to remain out of reach.
"I'm continually chasing Brian (11,953 runs) and Sachin (11,782)," he said. "Brian has finished but Sachin has got a few years left. Right now, my body has been sound for a few years. I've had some niggling back things, but I am working pretty hard to keep out of harm's way."
Ponting credits his fulltime move to No. 3 behind his run-scoring surge over the second half of his career. Since his elevation during the 2001 England tour he has scored 7362 runs at 68.80 in 74 games.
"There has been a bit made of the fact that I've been able to average more after being captain than before, but early in my career I struggled with batting down the order," he said. "Batting at No. 6 was something I'd never done before. Everyone thinks it's easier down there, I found it harder.
"I didn't know what to do sitting around the changeroom for all that time, and coming in after all those great players. Batting at No. 3 was where everything changed in my career. When I have more responsibility in the batting order is when I play my best cricket."
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