|Ricky Ponting after his century in Port-of-Spain Saturday
Port-of-Spain: Vice-captain Ricky Ponting hit his first Test double century as Australia continued their onslaught in the second Test against the West Indies on Sunday.
Ponting, in outstanding form after scoring 140 in the World Cup final last month and a hundred in the first Test in Guyana, reached the landmark by taking two runs off Vasbert Drakes in the third over after lunch.
Ponting, whose previous best was 197 against Pakistan in Perth in 1999, was at the crease for 476 minutes, faced 344 balls and hit 23 fours and one six.
After resuming on 146 overnight, Ponting quickly completed his 150 in the third over of the morning off Marlon Samuels.
He then kept his score ticking along with ones and twos against a defensive field set in an attempt to reduce Australia’s prolific first-day scoring rate of over four runs an over.
Ponting began to find the boundary again when hapless left-arm fast bowler Pedro Collins was brought into action, driving him for two fours in his first over of the day and another in the next as he reached 195 by lunch.
At the other end, Adam Gilchrist was unbeaten on 76 as Australia reached 527 for three early in the afternooon session on the second day.
Yesterday, Ponting and Darren Lehmann plundered a limp West Indian bowling attack in a record stand. Lehmann was out for 160 four overs before the close, giving debutante wicketkeeper Carlton Baugh his first Test dismissal. Australia, requiring victory here to retain the Frank Worrell Trophy after winning by nine wickets in Georgetown last week, rollicked away against a threadbare Windies attack.
The Caribbeans went into the Test with just three frontline bowlers and paid a crushing price as the Australians buried them under an avalanche of runs on a true pitch with a lightning-fast outfield. Lehmann and Ponting’s record stand eclipsed the Australian record for the third wicket of 295 between Colin McDonald and Neil Harvey against the West Indies in Kingston in 1955. It is Australia’s highest third wicket stand in all Tests.
Lehmann, who had a life on 117 when he gloved a hook shot off Mervyn Dillon only for Baugh to fumble a high overhead chance, batted for 312 minutes and hit 21 fours and a six.
The most prolific batsman in Australia’s Sheffield Shield history was fighting for his Test place after scoring just six in the first, but he has now consolidated his berth in the all-star Australian batting lineup.