Flurry of activity worth the admission money

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The Independent Online

The first 10 overs of the day, before rain interrupted things, provided a wonderful example of the best that cricket can offer.

There were three wickets, a flurry of handsome strokes, hostile fast bowling, excellent catching and outstanding ground fielding.

In the first over Andy Caddick dropped short and Matthew Hayden's hook sent a steepling catch to fine leg. It took Darren Gough a moment to sight the ball, then he adjusted quickly before showing what a safe pair of hands he has.

Gough bowled the second over and the first ball, to Ricky Ponting, was on his pads and with excellent timing he eased it through mid-wicket for four. When Caddick again dropped short in his third over, Ponting hooked him square, rolling his wrists to keep the ball on the ground. Caddick over-compensated and the next ball produced a flowing on drive which brought Ponting four more runs.

The score had reached 23 when Gough gave Adam Gilchrist the width and shortness to cut and Hollioake held a good one up by his face at backward point. Caddick pitched the ball on Ponting's pads and again mid-on had to trot back to the midwicket boundary to retrieve the ball.

In the same over, Ponting, on the back foot, nibbled outside the off stump as he tried to run the ball to third man. It flicked the edge of his bat and at second slip Nick Knight went low to his left in front of Marcus Trescothick at first and came up with a beauty.

Ponting has made a magnificent start in this one-day series and it would not be a surprise if long before the end of the summer his is the wicket the England bowlers will want most of all. He cannot help but provide some grand entertainment in his wristy, quick-footed way.

If the rain had set in at this point and there had been no more play, I think we would still all have gone home with smiles on our faces.

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