Cricinfo: Commonwealth Bank Series 2007-08
CricinfoCB Series 2007-08

Commonwealth Bank Series, 10th ODI: Australia v India at Sydney, Feb 24, 2008

Ponting finally finds his touch

In Australia's first six matches of the ongoing series, Ponting managed only 64, with a best of 25. He didn't seem in good rhythm either, and Australia's woes were compounded by the fact that two other key batsmen - Matthew Hayden and Andrew Symonds - were battling a run-drought as well.

Ponting himself admitted that he was 'in a bit of a rut', and his bad fortune of late was accentuated by his sale for a surprisingly low amount of US$400,000 at the Indian Premier League auction.

But he overcame it all with a masterly 124, as Australia posted the highest total of the series - 317 for 7. The fact that they were already through to the final may have eased the pressure on Australia's top order, and Adam Gilchrist and Hayden set the tone by starting off aggressively. Gilchrist fell to Sreesanth, and new man Ponting wasn't to be silenced on his day.

He thumped two boundaries through the off side off Sreesanth, and when a silken on-drive was stroked off Ishant Sharma, the signs of him coming back to form were imminent. Irfan Pathan was greeted with a six over square leg, and India's bowlers seemed set for a hiding.

Australia had raced to 92 off the first ten overs. Hayden was run-out for 54 in a mix-up with Ponting, but Symonds stuck around with Ponting as he too worked his way back among the runs.

From then on, the two consolidated, and Ponting became the fifth batsman to score 11,000 ODI runs before bringing up his 26th ODI hundred, which moved him to second on the list of leading centurions in the 50-over format of the game. His hundred came off just 111 balls, with six fours and the one six, before he holed out to long-off in the quest for quick runs.

Although India's batsmen came close to the target, Ponting was happy the Australian batsmen had struck form. "It was another good win by us, although they got a few more runs than we would have liked towards the end," he said. "Our batting was excellent today and it's been coming for a while. "We wanted to get some momentum going into the finals." Ponting surely did, and with Matthew Hayden and Andrew Symonds beginning to find their touch again, their opponents in the CB Series finals better watch out.

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