Former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting took a trip down memory lane, revisiting his team’s encounter with India in the 2003 World Cup final, a clash that still haunts the Indian fans.
Australia were put to bat first by the Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly at Johannesburg. Ponting along with Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden provided a blistering start to the game. And then Ponting and Damien Martyn combined for a record partnership.
“It had taken me about 70 balls to get to 50. And because the game was so under control and we were scoring quickly, I wanted to make sure I was there at the end. The 12th man came out and I said, ‘Tell the boys to strap the seatbelts on, I’m gonna go flat-out from now and see what happens’. I got most of them in the middle from there on in,” Ponting said.
Ponting struck a ton in 74 balls and went unbeaten with a score of 140. His last 90 runs came in just 47 balls and he stuck three consecutive sixes in Harbhajan Singh’s over. “As the captain, it was my turn to stand up and I walked off 140 not out, having shared (an Australian record) partnership with Damien Martyn at the time and posted 360 in a World Cup final. You’re walking off there and you’re thinking, well that’s done, game over – we’ve stood up here,” Ponting added.
In the end, Australia emerged victorious by 125 runs as India succumbed to a total of 234. John Buchanan, who coached Australia during their 2003 triumph, called it a collective effort from the entire team. “One of the reasons why you win tournaments is the depth of the group that you have, everybody works together to achieve an endpoint. It was a good group and we achieved some special things.”
(with inputs from agencies)