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Friday, December 14, 2007

Ponting and Gilchrist at their best. Does it get any better than this?

Australia 3/255 (42.3 overs) defeated New Zealand 7/254 (50 overs) by 7 wickets with 45 balls to spare.

Tonight at the Adelaide Oval two great Australian batsmen led their team to victory, and in doing so gave a masterclass in the art of batting. Adam Gilchrist's 51/29b (2x6, 6x 4) was all that a one day cricket follower could hope for, whereas Ricky Ponting's 107 no/108b (13x4) was one of the best innings any cricket connoisseur could expect to see in a lifetime of watching the game.

The photo above shows Ponting's characteristic pull shot, but he played shots all round the wicket as his wagon wheel shows.

And the rest of the match? NZ started promisingly. Brendon McCullum took early runs off Shaun Tait and others, but no3 Jamie How took 22 balls to get off the mark (he finished with 20/59b) and helped the bowlers to regain control. McCullum raced to 60 but slowed down thereafter. His 96/103b (1x6, 12x4) was a worthy innings which in most other situations would have been memorable . Ross Taylor was given one to get off the mark
(a full toss which he hit for for six) and several other gifts by Brad Hogg during his 50/52b. Surprisingly, Jacob Oram by his standards scratched around during the final overs, but he wasn't wholly responsible for a disappointing final score of 7/254.

This was never going to be enough. When Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden got stuck into the NZ opening attack who were like or, to give them the benefit of the doubt, were made to look like net bowlers, it seemed as if 35 overs would be enough for Australia to overhaul their target.

Then both openers were out, as was Michael Clarke after an impressive 48/76b. Ponting reached his 50, then it rained, bringing relief after the match had begun in 30+ plus degree heat, but also raising the prospect of a Duckworth - Lewis result. Fortunately the rain stopped, the mathematicians were put back into their box, and Ponting continued his innings (I took the photo above then by which time most of the crowd had left). He eventually took his team to an easy victory as he demonstrated the arts of batting. The Chappell- Hadlee Trophy, it seems, is destined to return to Australia.


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