Aussie legend Ricky Ponting, the man with 3 World Cups, is undoubtedly Australia’s next best cricketer after Sir Don Bradman. The most successful captain of the cricket history, his breathtaking, dead-eye fielding other than his batting and hooks and pulls is a game in itself. His 26 undefeated streak in the world cup is a special feat to achieve. He made his debut at the age of 20 during a Quadrangular series and the rest is history. He was named as the Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 2006.
He was also named as the ICC Player of the Year for two consecutive years in 2006 and 2007. He contributed so many important innings for his country. Ricky Ponting’s Test career started at the WACA in 1995 and ended in the same place 17 years later after 168 Test matches, 375 One Day Internationals and 17 International T20 matches. He has the second most number of centuries in Cricket History.
As a batsman he stands second in scoring most number of runs in ODIs and tops among Australians in test. He was also a terrific fielder, especially in the slips. He has taken 191 catches (as non-wicket-keeper) which is the most among all Australians. He also holds a special record of scoring over 1000 runs at four different grounds. Here are five of the best innings from Ponting’s remarkable, prolific career.
96 on Test Debut in 1995 against Sri Lanka at WACA Perth
Ponting could have started his career inauspiciously with a golden duck after bravely advancing down the track first ball and edging it to the slips against Sri Lankan legend Muttiah Muralitharan. As it was he marked the start of his Test career with an impressive 96 in Australia’s first and only innings. The home side went on to win by an innings and 36 runs and thus the series too.
140* v India – World Cup Final 2003, Johannesburg
A captain’s knock of 140 off 138 gave Australia a first Innings total of 359 -2 in their 50 overs. He along with Damien Martyn, shared an unbeaten partnership of 233 to reach the highest total scored in an World Cup final. It was also the highest partnership for any wicket for Australia in World Cups. Andrew Symonds, Brett Lee and Glenn McGrath bowled out India for just 234 to take Australia to their 3 World Cup title. He was awarded the Player of the Match in the final.
164 in 105 balls v South Africa – Wanderers March 2006
Ponting struck an unbelievable 164 in 105 balls including 13 fours and 9 sixes to give Australia a staggering total of 434 – 4 in 50 Overs. What is even more staggering is that they didn’t win. South Africa knocked them off with 1 wicket and 1 ball spare. He also shared the Man of the Match award with Herschelle Gibbs. The match is considered to be one of the greatest ODI match ever played. Australia with the help of Ponting’s 164 posted the highest total in ODIs which was broken by South Africa later in the match.
257 v India – 3rd Test MCG 2003/04
136 from Matthew Hayden and a majestic and defiant 257 off 458 balls from Ponting gave Australia a first innings lead of 192 over India in the 3 Test of the 2003/04 series, after India posted a total of 366 in the first innings of the Boxing day test. Ricky Ponting’s 257 outclassed Virender Sehwag’s 195 in the first Innings. A match that Australia went on to win by 9 wickets and also levelled the series 1-1 with one match to go.
143*(second innings) in his 100 Test Match – vs South Africa 2006
South Africa batted first making 451/9 thanks to centuries from Jacques Kallis and Ashwell Prince. In reply, Australia found themselves in trouble at 54/3 before Ponting lead a recovery scoring 120 off 174 balls in the first innings to give Australia a first innings score of 359 thus conceding a lead of 92 runs. South Africa then made 194 declare in the second innings leaving Australia an unlikely but not impossible 287 in 76 overs. Australia, led by Ponting himself had other strategy in mind, and went for a chase.
Ponting became the only man at the time to score centuries in both innings of Test match by thundering 143 from 159 balls with the Matthew Hayden who scored 90, to lead Australia to an 8 wicket victory with 15.3 overs to spare thus winning the series 2-0. He was also awarded the Man of the Series along with Man of the Match for his twin tons.