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Ricky Ponting records 33 Test centuries

Surpassing compatriot Steve Waugh's record, Ponting moves into the ranks of top four century-makers along with Tendulkar, Lara and Gavaskar.

india Updated: Dec 03, 2006 21:15 IST
Associated Press
Associated Press

Ricky Ponting reached his 33rd Test century, his seventh of the calendar year, to lead Australia to 185 for three at tea on the third day of the second Ashes cricket Test against England at the Adelaide Oval on Sunday.

He led Australia's fight back from 65 for three, replying to England's first innings of 551 for six declared, sharing a partnership with Michael Hussey (49 not out) which yielded 120 runs by tea.

Ponting's century extended his recent good form which has placed him firmly among cricket's greatest batsmen. He continues to climb the ladder of great Australian players, which is still dominated by cricket's greatest player, Sir Donald Bradman.

The Australian captain took full advantage of an escape on 35 to surpass Steve Waugh's Australian record of 32 Test hundreds and to move into the ranks of cricket's top four century-makers along with Sachin Tendulkar (35), Brian Lara and Sunil Gavaskar (both 34).

While Tendulkar has 35 centuries from 132 Tests and 10,469 runs, and Lara has 34 centuries and 11,904 runs from 131 Tests, Ponting's recent run accumulation makes him their peer.

Ponting has now scored 1,159 runs with seven centuries and three half centuries in calendar 2006 at an average substantially in excess of 100. He has scored 10 centuries in his last 13 Tests, including his 196 in the first Ashes Test at Brisbane which was the foundation of Australia's 277-run win.

England were left Sunday regretting the reprieve they extended Ponting when he was at 35 and when Australia was struggling at 78 for three in the 25th over of its innings.

Ponting pulled a ball from Matthew Hoggard directly to Ashley Giles at deep square leg but the fieldsman put down a simple chance, attempting to secure the catch with both hands extended above his head.

There was a another moment of drama for Ponting at 46 when he took a short single and was almost beaten by Paul Collingwood's throw from mid-wicket to the non-striker's end.

From that point on, and after a tentative beginning, he settled down and began playing the authoritative innings Australia needed to remain in the match.

Ponting had his half century, when Australia was 101 for three, after 151 minutes and was 57 not out, when Australia was 105 for three, at lunch.

He worked through a 50 partnership with Hussey in 85 minutes and a 100 partnership, as he moved to 90, after 149 minutes, from 203 balls.

Ponting moved swiftly through the 90s, finding himself in such familiar territory, and stepped easily from 99 to 100 with a single from his opposite, England captain Andy Flintoff.

Hussey lent him manful support. He also scored more slowly than is his custom but his unbeaten innings at team had been embellished by a six off Steve Harmison into the crowd at backward square leg. Australia added 80 runs at a steady pace in the session between lunch and tea.

Meanwhile, Australian fast bowler Brett Lee was cited by match referee Jeff Crowe for excessive appealing during England's first innings on Saturday. The charge concerned Lee's behavior during an appeal for caught behind against Keven Pietersen, when the England batsman was 60. Umpire Steve Bucknor rejected the appeal and Pietersen went on to make 158.

Lee could be fined his match fee if the charge is sustained.

First Published: Dec 03, 2006 21:15 IST