MELBOURNE, Dec 15 AAP - A record-breaking stand between Adam Gilchrist and Ricky Ponting launched Australia to a formidable 6-318 in the tri-series cricket match against England at the MCG.
Gilchrist (124) and Ponting (119) blasted a partnership of 225 at better than a run-a-ball to continue Australia's scorching batting summer and ensured England would need to create some records of its own to win.
Ponting and Gilchrist's stand is now Australia's highest-ever partnership in a limited overs match, bettering by one run the stand by Allan Border and Dean Jones against Sri Lanka in 1984-85.
The union - from just 206 balls - was also the highest stand in Australia and the first double century partnership against England.
In a feast for batting records, Ponting and Gilchrist propelled Australia to its highest limited overs total against England, bettering the 5-283 in Brisbane in 1990-91.
Today's total also took Australia to its 13th-highest total overall after Ponting won the toss and batted.
Ponting's century came from 123 balls (nine fours, three sixes), while Gilchrist rode his luck early with a series of high balls that fell safely, but batted brilliantly, flaying 11 fours and four sixes off 104 balls.
Ponting joined Gilchrist with the score at 15 in the third over after the Matthew Hayden (four) spooned a catch to cover.
Ponting took a look at his first four balls, but accelerated the scoring and in the process, did what few others could - make his partner Gilchrist look slow.
Ponting's early burst of seven boundaries (two sixes) over six overs took Australia to 1-69 after 10 overs.
At times it was glorious batting by the pair, while at others it was contemptuous - Gilchrist's back-foot pull shot off Craig White reeked of a batsman at the top of his game.
And as if the scoreboard attendants weren't kept busy enough, Ponting kept two on the boundary on their toes when he hit a six straight at them.
The partnership was broken in the 37th over when Gilchrist inside edged England debutant James Anderson (1-46) on to his stumps.
From that point at 2-240, an enormous total still loomed.
But England dug deep and the Australian innings petered out as Michael Bevan (three), Damien Martyn (nine) and Shane Watson (nine) all fell cheaply.
Despite the hot conditions, the MCG failed to attract a capacity crowd, but fans appeared to be well behaved.
Cricket officials had urged fans to behave themselves in what has been a traditionally turbulent fixture, but Ponting and Gilchrist's batting ensured fans watched the cricket rather than misbehave.
To win England needed its seventh-highest limited overs score.