Ponting century resists West Indies

Australia 340-7 v West Indies
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The Independent Online

Ponting entered in the sixth over after the debutant Mike Hussey, a replacement for the injured Justin Langer, top-edged a hook off Daren Powell to the keeper, Denesh Ramdin. He held his team together until the 74th over when he fell to Ramnaresh Sarwan's sharp catch at midwicket off Jermaine Lawson with shadows stretching across the field.

Pulls, cuts and searing drives brought Ponting 15 fours off his 213 balls but when he was dismissed Australia were 294 for 7, an unsatisfactory position with only the bowlers remaining. As the West Indies' bowling and fielding sagged at the end of a day of 30C heat, however, Shane Warne and Brett Lee frustrated them with an unbroken stand worth 46 by the close.

Only Corey Collymore's controlled each-way movement, off an uncooperative surface that brought him 4 for 47 from 18 overs, presented Ponting with much concern, although a narrow miss of the stumps from cover by the substitute Dwayne Smith would have run him out at 67, - and revived memories of his controversial Trent Bridge dismissal in the Ashes series by England's Gary Pratt.

Ponting was well entrenched with 50 at lunch, Australia 95 for 1 and the West Indies' were starting to rue the decision to bowl after winning the toss. But Collymore changed the course of the innings on the resumption with the wickets of Matthew Hayden, Michael Clarke and Simon Katich for two runs from 11 balls with superb bowling.

Hayden was lbw for 37, while Clarke and the left-hander Katich were caught off tentative outside edges and Australia suddenly found themselves 111 for 4. But Adam Gilchrist arrived to counter-attack in a partnership of 104 with his captain. It took Collymore's return to end the stand with the last ball of the first over after tea, when Gilchrist was trapped leg before. Shane Watson was lbw to the lively Fidel Edwards at 273 and when Ponting followed 11 runs later, the West Indies could feel satisfied with their position. Warne and Lee, however, diminished their optimism.