It doesn’t get any more emphatic than 5-0 (well, 7-0 would be better), and it’s been thanks to a great all-round effort so far. Johnson, Clarke, Lee, Hauritz and now Ponting have all put in match-winning performances, proving just why we’re about to reclaim the number one position in one-day cricket from the South Africans. Ricky’s superb century on Tuesday night paved the way for the world champions to beat England by four wickets at Trent Bridge.
Set a seemingly challenging 300, master batsman Ponting’s 126 – his best ODI score against England, surpassing the 119 he made at Melbourne in 2002 – took Australia to within sight of victory. We still needed 39 off 36 balls after Stuart Broad had strucktwice in the 44th over, Callum Ferguson plumb lbw and Ponting driving to Owais Shah at long-off.
But Cameron White and Mitchell Johnson, who ended the match with a six off Ryan Sidebottom, saw us home with 10 balls to spare.
England’s batting had repeatedly failed this series. But here they made 299 – and still it wasn’t enough. Former Ireland batsman Eoin Morgan top-scored with 58 – his best for his adopted country.
But Ponting, who shared a third-wicket stand of 133 with vice-captain Michael Clarke (52), showed how hundreds, not fifties, win games. Ricky was soon into his stride and struck a huge straight six off left-arm quick Sidebottom.
But on 40 he was dropped by opposing captain Andrew Strauss, a drive off leg-spinner Adil Rashid skimming the England skipper’s fingers at short extra-cover on its way to the boundary.
Ponting went on to complete a fifty off 51 balls under the floodlights and two magnificent sixes in as many deliveries from Rashid took him to 97. A single off Rashid saw Ponting to his 27th hundred in 317 ODIS off 92 balls with three sixes and 10 fours.
The series continues with another day/nighter at Trent Bridge tonight.