If Ricky Ponting had to pick his favourite ground, it probably would not be The Oval. It was there in 2005, after all, that his side surrendered the Ashes but the Australian captain went some way to improving his memories of the South London ground yesterday as he hammered 56 off 40 balls to lead Australia to a seven-wicket victory over New Zealand.
Mitchell Johnson did most of the damage with the ball, claiming two wickets in his opening over as his pace unsettled the Kiwis. He ended with 4 for 20 as Scott Styris (42) and Peter McGlashan (49) dragged New Zealand to a respectable 147 all out, the highlight of which was a powerfully hooked six by the latter from a Peter Siddle bouncer.
Australia were 26-2 in reply before Ponting and Michael Clarke (49 no) came together to settle their nerves. Andrew Symonds, who replaced Ponting, secured victory when he clipped the ball off his pads to the square-leg boundary.
Sri Lanka made heavy weather of Bangladesh after looking well set on 106-2 chasing 152 with eight overs to go. Just 13 runs were added in four overs, though, and it took some lusty late blows from Jehan Mubarak and Angelo Mathew to see their side home.
West Indies had a much easier time of it, cruising to a nine-wicket victory over Ireland. Chris Gayle scored 88 from 56 balls as Ireland's 130 was easily overhauled.