On certain days it’s futile bowling to Ricky Ponting. You can’t stop him from scoring, you can’t dismiss him, you’re constantly short of fielders and ideas. England came up against Ponting in such a mean mood in the semifinal of the Champions Trophy. Chasing 258 for victory, Australia romped to a nine-wicket win on the back of hundreds from Ponting and Shane Watson. On the way, Ponting became the first Australian to score 12,000 ODI runs.
The early loss of Tim Paine, who picked up five catches while fielding, did little to peg back the run rate. For reasons best known to them, England’s pacers repeatedly banged the ball in short and Ponting dismissed them from his presence with contempt. Watson was not far behind and some of his pull shots sailed parallel to the ground and into the stands. Aesthetically Ponting (111 not out) and Watson (136 not out) were chalk and cheese, but a oneness of purpose bound them, and England had no way back into the game. When the winning runs were came there were still 49 balls to be bowled.
Earlier in the day, when Andrew Strauss chose to bat, the runs came quickly as he and Joe Denly drove crisply through the off side, but this proved to be a false dawn as both openers contrived to get themselves out.
Collingwood (34) also threw it away, trying to pull a delivery that got big on him, only making thin contact.
When Denly, debutant Steve Davies and Eoin Morgan all fell after getting starts, England were 101 for 6 and the wheels had come off the innings. Luke Wright and Tim Bresnan then set about showing there was little to fear in the pitch.
Built like a rugby player rather than a cricketer, Bresnan stood solid as a rock, just keeping the bowling out till he got something in his comfort zone. When that happened the burly allrounder did not hold back, putting everything into heavy thumps through and over the leg side.
England: Strauss c Hopes b Siddle 14, Denly c †Paine b Siddle 36, Shah c Paine b Lee 0, Collingwood c Paine b Johnson 34, Morgan c Paine b Watson 9, Daviesb Watson 5, Wright c Paine b Siddle 48, Bresnan b Lee 80, Swann run out 18, Anderson not out 5, Onions run out 1.
Extras (w-6, nb-1) 7.
Total (all out in 47.4 ovs) 257.
FoW: 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, Siddle 10-0-55-3, Hopes 4-0-28-0, Johnson 10-1-61-1, Watson 8.4-1-35-2
Australia: Watson not out 136, Painec Davies b Onions 4, Ponting not out 111.
Extras (lb-2, w-5) 7.
Total (for 1 wkt in 41.5 ovs) 258.
Bowling: Anderson 8.5-0-48-0, Onions 8-0-47-1, 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.