Sat, Jan 07, 2006 - Page 20 News List

Ponting leads Australia to victory


Australian captain Ricky Ponting, front, holds the trophy after Australia won the Test series against South Africa, as Adam Gilchrist stands behind in Sydney, yesterday.


Ricky Ponting guided Australia to an unlikely eight-wicket win over South Africa in the third Test yesterday, becoming the first cricketer to score centuries in both innings of his 100th Test.

Graeme Smith, pushing for a series-leveling win, declared South Africa's second innings at 194 for six an hour before lunch yesterday, setting Australia 287 to win and giving his attack 76 overs to bowl the hosts out.

It backfired.

Ponting was unbeaten on 143 -- his 28th test hundred -- when Australia broke the 108-year-old record for the highest fourth innings winning total at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

He stroked a boundary for the winning runs, boosting the total to 288 for two, which surpassed the 276-4 Australia achieved to beat England here in 1898.

Ponting was voted player of the match and of the series. He scored 515 runs in three tests at an average of 103.

South Africa salvaged a draw in the series-opener in Perth before losing at Melbourne last week by 184 runs, although both captains agreed the outcome could have been different.

South Africa "have really tested us right through this series. It's been hard fought and a tough tussle in every Test," said Ponting. "It's been very hard fought and we've come through with the goods."

New Zealand versus Sri Lanka

A rehabilitated fast bowler and a novice offspinner combined to bowl New Zealand to a 21-run win over Sri Lanka in the fourth limited-overs cricket international.

Shane Bond, nearing his best after a crippling run of injuries, took three vital wickets through the middle of the innings and Jeetan Patel, in his first one-day international at home, took 2-23 as New Zealand dismissed Sri Lanka for 203 in reply to its 224-9.

Sri Lankan veteran medium pacer Chaminda Vaas earlier took five wickets for 38 runs in a brilliant spell to limit New Zealand's scoring after the hosts won the toss and chose to bat first.

Peter Fulton and Hamish Marshall each made half-centuries to set New Zealand, which clinched the series by winning the first three matches, on the path to a substantial total. But Vaas contrived to wreck the home team's innings and give his team the chance to break a string of six one-day losses.

Jehan Mubarak and Kumar Sangakkara made contrasting half-centuries to lead Sri Lanka easily toward New Zealand's total, but their dismissal left the tourists in disarray and New Zealand won with more than three overs to spare.

Returning captain Stephen Fleming used his bowlers to telling effect as he defended a modest total on a ground on which international teams have averaged 270 in their last three games.

Fleming bowled Bond in short but effective spells in which he claimed the wickets of Tillakaratne Dilshan (17), Farveez Maharoof (0) and Malinga Bandara, who was the last man to fall for 12.

India arrived for a seven-week tour of Pakistan on Thursday, greeted by a small group of fans and a massive security presence.

Dozens of policemen and paramilitary troops were deployed at the Allama Iqbal International in Lahore.

Heavily armed police commandos escorted the two buses in which the Indian cricket team members traveled to their hotel.

Three police pickup trucks were driving ahead of the buses and three trailed them.

About 15 Pakistani fans were at the airport to greet the Indian team and one of them held a sign that read, "Welcome Indian brothers."

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