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Ponting shines at Lara's invitation
May 02, 2003 12:29 IST
Australia vice-captain Ricky Ponting hit a century for the third Test match running on Thursday as the tourists took charge of the third Test against West Indies after being put in by Brian Lara.
Ponting followed up his 117 in the first Test and 206 in the second by hitting 113 before being run out as Australia, already 2-0 ahead in the series, reached 320 for three at the close on the first day at Bridgetown, Barbados..
West Indies captain Lara's decision to insert the one-day world champions back-fired as Australia capitalised on a string of missed chances.
Darren Lehmann and Justin Langer rubbed salt into the wounds by hitting 89 not out and 78 respectively, punishing an inexperienced West Indian attack which included debutants Tino Best and Omari Banks.
West Indies made five changes to the team which lost the second Test by 118 runs after taking only seven wickets in the entire match but Thursday's play had a familiar ring as Australia's batsman again piled on the runs.
Ponting, who received 204 balls and was at the crease for 300 minutes as he hit his 17th Test century, came to the crease with Australia at 43 for one and batted with typical patience and determination.
He compiled his innings with ones and twos, interspersed with some explosive boundaries. The high point came when he pulled Tino Best over Shivnarine Chanderpaul at deep square for six.
Ponting also rode his luck as he escaped a run out early in the innings, survived a loud lbw appeal from Best on 87 when replays suggested he was lucky to escape and was dropped by Chanderpaul at backward point on 90.
Ponting was finally run out with the score on 292 after Best rushed in at the deep third man boundary and his pinpoint, low throw reached wicketkeeper Carlton Baugh's hands with Ponting just centimetres short of the mark.
Lehmann and captain Steve Waugh, not out seven, were at the crease at the close.
Earlier, Langer also made West Indies pay as he was let off three times.
Langer had his first escape on the opening ball of the day when he edged Jermaine Lawson but Chanderpaul failed to take a difficult slip catch.
The second chance was much more blatant.
This time Langer drove a return catch to Lawson, but the bowler failed to hang on to a catch at the second attempt after the ball popped out of his hands.
Langer survived again on 68 when he was left stranded following a mix-up with Ponting, Lawson fielded the ball and threw to Baugh, who clumsily missed the ball but knocked the stump with his glove.
His luck ran out when he sliced a Banks delivery to Chanderpaul at cover to become the first Test victim of the 20-year-old off-spinner, the first player from the tiny island of Anguilla to play Test cricket.
Vasbert Drakes provided the only cheer for the home fans before lunch, finding the edge of Matthew Hayden's bat for Chris Gayle to take a fumbling catch at first slip.
Hayden made 27 from 30 balls.