Ponting crosses 13,000-run mark
Adelaide, Jan 24: When Ricky Ponting pumped his fists and leapt in the air after scoring his 41st Test century in the first innings of the Adelaide Test, India supporters couldn’t help exulting too. It is always an endearing sight to see a champion emerge from the shadows of twilight and illuminate the arena like he did in his prime. En route to his sparkling ton, the former Australia captain also became the third batsman – after Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid – to scale the 13,000 Test-run summit.
Resuming after lunch on Day 1 at the Adelaide Oval, Ponting brought up his 61st Test fifty with a couple of runs behind square leg and scored his 13,000th Test run with a single in the same area. After a dogged effort of 134 in Sydney – his first Test hundred in two years – Ponting got back to his imperious at a venue that has always been dear to him.
He cut, pulled and drove with elegance to compile an attractive, aggressive and yet chanceless century, starting with a scorching boundary through point off Zaheer Khan. Ponting’s ton came in 164 balls and was laced with 11 boundaries. What makes the knock even more special is that it came when the hosts were tottering at 31 for two.
After his ton at the SCG, the prescient 37-year-old had said he was one big score away from racking up a few more. Ponting's prediction was proved right by his fourth straight Test century against India at the Adelaide Oval. His previous three knocks here against the side were worth 125, 242 and 140 runs respectively. The Tasmanian now has six centuries in Adelaide, matching his tally in Sydney. With this effort, Ponting has become the second highest century-scorer in Test cricket along with Jacques Kallis. With 41 Test centuries, both men are 10 tons behind Tendulkar’s tally.
Having scored two fifties and hundreds each in the series so far, the former skipper has silenced critics who had consigned him to the past of Australian cricket due to a slump in form. After getting to his 100, the veteran batsman made it a point to acknowledge every corner of the ground, possibly saying goodbye to the Australian public. But as Geoff Lawson said from the commentary box, “It seems a stretch [that he’s bidding goodbye]; after all Ponting has been through, [he’s] proved he is still good enough. Can’t see him leaving the crease, let alone the game, at the moment.”