The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Aussie batsmen on top

Port-of-Spain, April 19 (Reuters): Darren Lehmann and Ricky Ponting hit half-centuries to put Australia in control of the second Test against the West Indies on Saturday after controversial umpiring had claimed both their opening batsmen.

Australia were 296 for two at 2 am. Ricky Ponting was batting on 119 with Darren Lehmann on 109.

Lehmann and Ponting batted through the afternoon session as they took the score to 228 for two at tea after Australia had won the toss and chosen to bat.

Lehmann was unbeaten on 80, having survived a loud appeal for caught behind on 65 off Vasbert Drakes. Ponting was not out 85 as the Australian batsman showed no mercy to the young West Indies side after coming together at 56 for two before lunch.

Ponting completed his 50 with a flourish as he hit debutant fast bowler Dave Bernard for three successive fours, driving the first straight down the wicket, pulling the second behind square and driving the third through the covers. His 50 came off 60 balls and he hit nine fours.

Lehmannís third Test half-century, which he completed with a quick single, was more workmanlike as he faced 91 balls and hit six fours.

Both survived let-offs as the home team, already suffering with a lacklustre attack, made costly fielding mistakes.

Ponting, who made a slow start but got into gear by hitting Drakes for successive fours, was on 42 when he got an inside edge off Dillon but Marlon Samuels dropped the catch at first slip.

The pair came together after openers Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden, who had made a brisk start, fell victim to unlucky leg-before decisions as Sri Lankan umpire Asoka de Silva, already under fire for his performance in the first Test, was again at the centre of attention.

Langer was victim to a full-length Dillon delivery that kept low. De Silva had a long, hard look before raising his finger but replays suggested the ball had pitched outside leg stump. Hayden was dismissed under similar circumstances.

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