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Ponting hits 18th Test century

October 18, 2003 16:18 IST

Ricky Ponting scored an unbeaten century as Australia began to eat away at Zimbabwe's lead in the second Test on Saturday.

Ponting was unbeaten on 137 with his captain Steve Waugh on 43 when rain forced an early end to the second day at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

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Australia, who won the first Test by an innings and 175 runs, were cruising along at 245 for three in their first innings when play was abandoned.

That left them just 63 runs behind the Zimbabweans who made 308 after resuming at 256 for eight.

All-rounder Andy Blignaut scored an unbeaten 38 to help Zimbabwe post a respectable total then picked up two early wickets.

The medium pacer got rid of Justin Langer for two with his first delivery before lunch then claimed the prized scalp of Matthew Hayden for 20 in the middle session.

Off spinner Raymond Price, the nephew of golfer Nick Price, chipped in to get rid of Damien Martyn for 32 when he trapped him lbw but Ponting's faultless innings put Australia in a comfortable position.

Australia's one-day captain smashed 16 boundaries and two sixes to reach his 18th career Test hundred and his sixth from his last 13 Tests.

He also shared an unbroken partnership of 97 with Waugh who struck five fours in his 75-ball knock before play was called off 36 minutes before the scheduled end of play.

Blignaut had shared a 53-run partnership with Price for the ninth wicket as the Zimbabwean tail frustrated the Australian bowlers for over an hour at the start of the day.

Price made 20 before holing out to Brad Williams at cover off Andy Bichel, who also wrapped up the innings when he had Blessing Mahwire caught behind for six to finish with four for 66.

Blignaut then struck with the ball, removing Langer when the Australian opener mis-timed an attempted drive and spooned the ball to Zimbabwe captain Heath Streak.

Blignaut also dismissed Hayden, fresh from his world record 380 in last week's first Test, after lunch when he was brilliantly caught by century-maker Stuart Carlisle.

Having added 97 with Ponting for the third wicket, Martyn was deceived by Price.

Australia's fightback was marred by news that fast bowler Brett Lee had been ruled out of the remainder of the match as well as the upcoming tour of India after injuring himself while bowling.

The Australian paceman was forced to leave the field following his third over of the day on Saturday and was later diagnosed with an torn stomach muscle.

"I am bitterly disappointed. I've worked really hard on my fitness and have basically gone through the past three seasons unscathed so to miss this tour now is a major blow," Lee said.



Zimbabwe (1st innings) (overnight 256-8):
D.Ebrahim b Lee 9
T.Gripper c Gilchrist b Bichel 15
M.Vermeulen lbw Williams 17
S.Carlisle c Ponting b Bichel 118
C.Wishart c Gilchrist b Williams 14
T.Taibu c Gilchrist b Hogg 27
H.Streak lbw Hogg 14
G.Ewing c Martyn b Lee 2
A.Blignaut not out 38
R.Price c Williams b Bichel 20
B.Mahwire c Gilchrist b Bichel 6

Extras (b-4, lb-12, w-3, nb-9) 28

Total (all out, 107.2 overs) 308

Fall of wickets: 1-15, 2-45, 3-47, 4-95, 5-151, 6-218, 7-222, 8-243, 9-296.

Bowling: Lee 23-5-78-2 (nb-5), Williams 23-6-58-2 (nb-1 w-1), Bichel 24.2-7-66-4 (nb-3 w-1), Hogg 23-8-49-2 (w-1), Waugh 4-0-7-0, Katich 7-0-25-0, Martyn 3-1-9-0.

Australia (1st innings):
J.Langer c Streak b Blignaut 2
M.Hayden c Carlisle b Blignaut 20
R.Ponting not out 137
D.Martyn lbw Price 32
S.Waugh not out 43.

Extras (lb-1, nb-9, w-1) 11

Total (for three wickets, 56.5 overs) 245

Fall of wicket: 1-7, 2-51, 3-148.

To bat: S.Katich, A.Gilchrist, A.Bichel, B.Lee, B.Hogg, B.Williams.

Bowling: Streak 11-1-58-0 (nb-1 w-1), Blignaut 13-2-49-2 (nb-3), Mahwing 6.5-0-47-0 (nb-5), Price 20-3-58-1, Ewing 6-0-32-0.

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