Ponting posts hard-earned century - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ponting posts hard-earned century

By Greg Buckle 25/03/2006 06:01:13 AM Comments (0)

Ricky Ponting played down the significance of his latest milestone after making 103 on the first day of the second Test against South Africa.

Ponting top-scored in his side's five for 228 as Australia lost three wickets late in the day after winning the toss at the Kingsmead ground in Durban.

Playing in his 102nd Test, the 31-year-old Tasmanian reached one of his most hard-earned hundreds in just over five hours from 224 balls with 11 fours on a difficult batting track.

The world No.1-ranked batsman equalled Don Bradman's career mark of 29 centuries, achieved in 52 Tests.

"I've played over 100 matches now, I should have those sort of figures next to my name if I'm worth my weight in the side," Ponting said.

"It was pretty satisfying today to get across the line for the hundred after having to work as hard as I did through the course of the day.

"Then it was disappointing to get out off the very next ball, so mixed emotions."

The day ended in high drama for the tourists who lost 3-21 and almost had a batsman retire hurt.

No.7 Andrew Symonds, batting in fading light, required stitches to his upper lip after play as a result of a bouncer which cannoned into his helmet and left him with blood pouring from his nose and mouth.

Ponting, who was dropped on five and missed at first slip on 36, now trails only Steve Waugh's 32 tons among Australian century-makers.

The skipper scored his sixth century in nine Tests.

But one ball after raising his bat to the dressing room in celebration, he was caught at mid-off off the bowling of spinner Nicky Boje at 3-198.

Damien Martyn fell 20 runs later for 57 in the first over with the second new ball.

The pair had added 101 for the third wicket.

Nightwatchman Brett Lee (0) initially stood at the crease dumbfounded after being given out caught behind to become Makhaya Ntini's third victim at 5-219.

Ntini (3-50) charged in and struck new batsman Symonds a heavy blow as South Africa pressed for a sixth wicket before stumps. The ball pushed the helmet grill back onto Symonds' face.

A shaken Symonds received medical attention on the field before bravely resuming his innings and was four not out when bad light ended play with two overs remaining.

Opener Justin Langer made a gutsy 35, losing Matthew Hayden for a duck in the second over before adding 97 with Ponting.

It had been slow progress for the tourists with Shaun Pollock (0-33 off 20 overs) and Jacques Kallis (1-33 off 15) bowling a tight line.

Ponting's side leads the three-match series 1-0.

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