Ponting teaches England a lesson

2009-10-03 00:00

IN the most sincerely brutal of manners, a Ricky Ponting-inspired Australia spanked England out of the Champions Trophy by nine wickets last night.

Make no mistake, this was not a contest. The only say Andrew Strauss had in the match was when he won the toss and elected to bat.

“Australia prides itself on standing up in big moments, and we did that tonight,” was Ponting’s understated description of the massacre.

Indeed, the only threat to the Aussie assault were the defiant flying ants that saw the openers scatter back to the sheds before the chase commenced.

England, at 101 for 6, had almost reduced the match to a half-day affair. But a defiant stand by Tim Bresnan and Luke Wright prolonged the playing time as they rallied to what one assumed to be a competitive total.

A gutted Strauss admitted they fell well short on an “excellent pitch”.

“We probably needed about 300 on that deck. We hoped that it might do a bit under lights, but Ricky and Watson played very well,” he said.

Bresnan registered a feisty maiden ODI fifty, and by the time he was castled by Brett Lee for 80 off 76 balls, he had given the English some hope.

He received excellent support from fellow all-rounder Luke Wright (48), but England’s total faded badly on what was an excellent batting strip

The groundsmen have come in for some fearful criticism this week, but credit was certainly due for a true cricket deck.

That England were able to recover from their early collapse was testimony to this. Australia, however, had other ideas as they simply reduced a target of 258 to rubble.

It was devastating to behold, and the encouragingly populous Centurion stands lapped up the run feast with glee.

Ponting simply strode to the crease, signalled his intentions, and then pushed the cruise control button.

That he and the equally impressive Shane Watson (136*) didn’t feel compelled to chase England’s bowling was a chilling thought.

“It was great to put together a performance like that when it mattered,” a beaming Watson said.

Strauss’ bowlers seemed hell-bent on trying to bounce Watson and Ponting out. And yet the shorter they bowled, the further they travelled.

It was mindless stuff, with England’s Jekyll and Hyde show in full force. This was the same unit that accounted for Sri Lanka and South Africa.

Last night, they couldn’t even buy a wicket.

Strauss tried everything short of bowling himself.

And much to his dismay, Australia’s pair of aces greeted each bowling change with a boundary.

Who would want to be a captain on a night like that?

By the time Ponting and Watson had chalked up their century stand, the only interest in the match was to see who would be first to reach three figures.

Ponting, in barn-storming form, crossed the line first. On the way he became the first Australian to pass 12 000 runs.

Last night’s contribution was 111 of the very best. “I’ve felt really good since I had a break after the Ashes, and I felt in control out there,” Ponting said.

Sensing the end was nigh, man-of-the-match Watson went into turbo-charge, planting six after massive six into the grass embankment.

It was brutal, but it was typical. Australia is in the final, and boy. will they take some stopping.


England innings

A. Strauss c Hopes b Siddle14

J. Denly c Paine b Siddle36

O. Shah c Paine b Lee0

P. Collingwood c Paine b Johnson34

E. Morgan c Paine b Watson 9

S. Davies b Watson5

L. Wright c Paine b Siddle48

T. Bresnan b Lee80

G. Swann run out18

J. Anderson not out5

G. Onions run out1

Extras (w-6, nb-1)7

TOTAL (all out; 47.4 overs) 257

Fall of wickets: 1-15 2-16 3-71 4-91 5-100 6-101 7-208 8-245

9-251 10-257.

Bowling: Lee 9-0-46-2 (1nb, 1w), Siddle 10-0-55-3 (1w),

Hopes 4-0-28-0, Johnson 10-1-61-1 (3w), Watson 8.4-1-35-2 (1w),

Hauritz 6-0-32-0.

Australia innings

S. Watson not out136

T. Paine c Davies b Onions4

R. Ponting not out111

Extras (lb-2 w-5)7

TOTAL (one wicket; 41.5 overs) 258

Fall of wicket: 1-6.

Bowling: Anderson 8.5-0-48-0 (1w), Onions 8-0-47-1 (3w),

Bresnan 8-0-51-0, Collingwood 8-0-50-0, Swann 5-0-31-0, Wright

3-0-18-0, Shah 1-0-11-0.

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