| Ricky Ponting on way to his century against Scotland in Basseterre on Wednesday. (Reuters)
Basseterre: Captain Ricky Ponting stroked his fourth World Cup century on Wednesday to propel world champions Australia to 334 for six against Scotland in their opening Group A match.
Australia started their title-defence in style, demolishing Scotland by 203 runs on Wednesday. In reply to Australia’s 334 for six, Scotland were bundled out for 131 in 40.1 overs. Earlier, Scottish bowler John Blain strained his hamstring and did not bat. Glenn McGrath took three for 14.
Ponting lofted five sixes and struck nine fours in his 113 from 93 balls, his 23rd ODI century. He also broke former India captain Sourav Ganguly’s previous World Cup record of 23 sixes and became the sixth man to reach 1,000 World Cup runs.
Scotland captain Craig Wright ensured the spectators, who filled less than half of the 10,000-capacity Warner Park, would get a decent day’s cricket by opting to field first after winning the toss on a dull, overcast day.
Paul Hoffman, who had last played against Adam Gilchrist 20 years ago when he represented Queensland Schools against New South Wales Schools, beat his old adversary outside the off-stump in a useful opening over.
Matthew Hayden, was off the mark with a firm push through mid-wicket for four off Hoffman and Gilchrist slashed the former Queenslander for an uppish boundary over point.
Hayden showed his intent by marching down the pitch to loft Hoffman for a brutal six over long-on in the seventh over and the pair brought up their 50 partnership from 46 balls.
Gilchrist was four short of what would have been a somewhat streaky half-century when umpire Steve Bucknor adjudged him lbw trying to swing former England one-day all-rounder Dougie Brown’s enthusiastic medium-pace to leg. He had hit seven fours from 55 balls.
Ponting reached 1,000 World Cup runs when he pushed Brown sweetly through mid-on for four..