WC 2003 - Ponting, Gilchrist devour on Lankan blunders, 319 for 5
Published: Friday, March 7, 2003, 23:05 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
Australian skipper wins toss, puts Sri Lanka to field
Centurion: Skipper Ricky Ponting hit 114 off 109 balls and Adam Gilchrist was run out for 99 as Australia took advantage of Sri Lanka's bungling in the field to hammer 319 for five in its World Cup Super Sixes match on Friday.The reigning champion, which swept through the preliminary round with an all-win record, smashed the bowlers to all parts of the SuperSport Park after electing to take first strike.A victory for the Australians will ensure them a place in the semi-finals even before their remaining Super Sixes games against Kenya and New Zealand, after carrying forward 12 maximum points from the first round.Ponting was lucky to escape two extraordinary errors by wicket-keeper Kumar Sangakkara before he had reached 40, first a stumping off Muttiah Muralitharan and then a run out.Both times Sangakkara swiped the ball over the stumps without dislodging the bails. Muralitharan then failed to grasp a catch at point when Gilchrist was on 96, but the batsman added just three more when he was run out trying to give Ponting a second run.Hashan Tillekeratne also failed to reach a simple skier in the 48th over, but he at least could be excused for failing to sight the ball against the sun. Gilchrist's 99 came off 88 deliveries and was studded with 14 boundaries and two towering sixes. Ponting, who added 106 off 105 balls for the second wicket with Gilchrist, responded by taking 20 runs in one over from Chaminda Vaas which ended with two successive sixes.When Sangakkara finally took a catch to remove Ponting, who top-edged a pull off Dilhara Fernando, Australia had cruised to 293 for three in the 46th over. The Australian captain's 12th One-day century included eight boundaries and four sixes.Damien Martyn helped himself to 52 off 51 balls to push Australia past the 300-run mark. Fernando removed Martyn and Darren Lehmann in the final over to finish with three for 47 in nine overs.Australia did not look back after a blazing start which saw Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden put on a run-a-ball 75 for the first wicket. Hayden made 22 when he was adjudged caught at short-leg off Muralitharan, but there was no respite for the Sri Lankans as Ponting dug in to keep the runs coming at a quick pace.Australia, already without the banned Shane Warne and the injured Jason Gillespie, took the field without Andrew Symonds who was nursing a thigh injury. All-rounder Ian Harvey took his place.