Ponting’s ton lifts Australia

A brilliant hundred from captain Ricky Ponting helped Australia recover from 111/4 to 340/7 at stumps on day one of the first Test at the Gabba. The Australians were inserted on a flat batting wicket at the start of the day, but met a brilliant post-lunch spell from seamer Corey Collymore to disturb the middle order.

Ponting’s 24th Test hundred held the innings together, as he batted alongside Adam Gilchrist and face up to the largely ineffective West Indian four-pronged seam attack. Indeed, Collymore was by far the standout bowler, although each of the pacers took a wicket.

After Chanderpaul put the hosts in to bat, debutant Michael Hussey departed early in the contest. Attempting to pull Daren Powell, Hussey skied the ball off the top edge, and it was easily held by Denesh Ramdin running around from behind the stumps.

Matthew Hayden (37) was joined by Ponting, and the two batted to lunch. Although Hayden was dropped by Chanderpaul at short midoff, and survived a confident LBW shout, he played solidly for the most part. Collymore returned after lunch and struck him in front for the first wicket of a fine spell of bowling.

Needing just 11 balls, Collymore took 3 wickets for just 2 runs, bowling the West Indies right back into the contention. He finished the day with 4/48 from 18 overs – a superb effort as Australia scored at exactly 4 runs per over for the 85 overs managed in the day.

Next to go was Michael Clarke (5). After bowling a series of balls seaming into the right-hander, Collymore produced a perfect legcutter on offstump, snatching the edge for a caught behind dismissal. Katich provided the leading edge of his bat and was held low down by Gayle at first slip, and suddenly the score had swung from 101/1 to 111/4.

Keen on counterattacking, Gilchrist’s first scoring shot was an airborne cut shot which just eluded a diving Lara at point. Both he and Ponting stood up to the pacers, dispatching anything loose, then did the same to Marlon Samuels and Chris Gayle, as Chanderpaul introduced spin into the attack.

Just as things began to take ominous shape, Collymore entered the fray again. Another successful LBW shout sent Gilchrist back to the pavilion – 215/5. The partnership between the two was worth 104 runs, and lasted 19.4 overs.

Allrounder Shane Watson (16) was trapped in front by Fidel Edwards, then Ponting was last out before the close. Ponting clipped Lawson to Sarwan at midwicket, to perish 1 short of his 150 and end his innings in a soft fashion.

His completed innings of 149 lasted 213 balls and featured 15 boundaries.

Frustrating the tourists to no end, Shane Warne and Brett Lee took some sting out of the tails of the West Indies toward the close of play, as they added an unbroken 46 in just over 11 overs.

Australia 340/7
Ricky Ponting 149, Adam Gilchrist 44, Matthew Hayden 37
Corey Collymore 4/48

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