Ponting century leads Australia to win - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ponting century leads Australia to win

By Greg Buckle 06/01/2006 08:06:39 PM Comments (0)

Australian captain Ricky Ponting says South African skipper Graeme Smith has egg on his face after his tough-talking tactics ended in a 2-0 series defeat at the hands of Australia.

Ponting said rain interruptions earlier in the third Test left Smith with no other option than to declare before lunch on Friday at the Sydney Cricket Ground, setting the Australians the modest target of 287 to win from 76 overs.

Australia cruised to 2-288 with 15.3 overs to spare as Ponting racked up an array of milestones, including becoming the first player to score a century in each innings of his 100th Test.

To add to Smith's woes, debutant off-spinner Johan Botha has been reported for a suspect bowling action and Smith has been fined 10 per cent of his match fee for his team's slow over-rate.

Ponting said it might have looked like an easy win for his side but Australia was actually 92 behind on the first innings and probably would have been chasing 400 to win in four sessions if rain had not intervened on day four.

"He's probably got a little bit of egg on his face, but not that much," Ponting said.

"I think Graeme will be pretty pleased with the way they've actually played.

"They've been very competitive."

Smith arrived for the three-Test tour last month saying Australia's middle-order batting was suspect and later took a shot at Ponting's captaincy for not being as assertive as Steve Waugh's time at the helm.

Australia will tour South Africa in February-March and while Ponting expects the return Test series to be another tough battle, he can reflect for the moment on his man-of-the-match performance, one of the highlights of the 31-year-old Tasmanian's glittering career.

World No.1-ranked batsman Ponting smashed a chanceless 143 not out on Friday after scoring 120 in Australia's first innings, giving him 944 runs at 85.8 in seven Tests this summer against the World XI, West Indies and South Africa.

The right-hander's 28th hundred lifted him to third on the Australian list of century-makers, ahead of Allan Border (27) and trailing only Don Bradman (29) and Steve Waugh (32).

Opener Matthew Hayden (90) and Ponting did as they pleased in the middle session against South Africa's modest bowling attack, piling on 182 runs for the second wicket.

Ponting said he felt his match-saving 156 in the third Test at Manchester during last year's Ashes series was his most enjoyable Test.

"(But) this one is going to be right up there," Ponting said.

"In a couple of days' time when I have more of a chance to think about it, it will probably become more special then," added Ponting, who has hit five hundreds in the seven Tests this Australian summer.

"To win the series two-nil and hit the winning runs today ... was pretty enjoyable."

The previous highest successful fourth-innings run-chase in an SCG Test was Australia's 4-276 to beat England in March 1898.

South Africa's attack was in disarray. Andre Nel, who took 4-81 in the first innings, was restricted to only seven overs because of a foot problem and Botha struggled, taking 1-77.

Ponting said he hoped the bad behaviour of his side in the third Test would not be repeated.

He said fast bowlers Glenn McGrath (obscene language) and Brett Lee (dissent), who were handed official reprimands by ICC match referee Chris Broad this week, were embarrassed by their actions.

Smith paid credit to the batting of Hayden and Ponting but said he wouldn't change any of his outspoken ways if he could have the series over again.

"Against any other team in the world we would have won this series," Smith said.

"In four years time when we come back here ... it will be a very strong outfit.

"When they can smell the kill, they take it. I think that's the area we are looking to get to."

Earlier, Australian leg-spinner Stuart MacGill claimed 3-33 and first-innings century-maker Jacques Kallis made an unbeaten 50 for South Africa.

Australia will host a triangular one-day series against Sri Lanka and South Africa starting on January 13, preceded by a Twenty20 international between Australia and South Africa at the Gabba on Monday night.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2021 AAP

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