Ponting passes milestones

Brisbane, November 23:

Ricky Ponting joined Steve Waugh as Australia’s greatest century-maker in Test cricket to put his team in command over England on the first day of the Ashes opener at the Gabba here Thursday.

Skipper Ponting scored the ninth century in his last 12 Tests to make an emphatic statement of Australia’s intent to wrest the Ashes back off England with a thumping first-day total of 346-3.

At the close, Ponting was unconquered on 137 with Mike Hussey not out 63. Ponting equalled Waugh’s record of 32 Test hundreds and moved to fourth all-time in Tests.

England struggled throughout the day with Steve Harmison virtually anonymous to restrict the Australian scoring. The tone was set in a rollicking morning session with the Australians going to lunch at 109 for only the loss of Matthew Hayden (21).

Flintoff (2-48) was England’s best bowler dismissing Hayden and Justin Langer (82), while Ashley Giles removed Damien Martyn (29).

SCOREBOARD

AUSTRALIA — 1st Innings

J Langer c Pietersen b Flintoff 82

M Hayden c C’wood b Flintoff 21

R Ponting not out 137

D Martin c C’wood b Giles 29

M Hussey not out 63

Extras: 14 (lb5, w3, nb6)

Total: 346/3

FoW: 1-79, 2-141, 3-198

England bowling: Harmison 12-2-52-0, Hoggard 16-2-62-0, Anderson 18-4-88-0, Flintoff 16-2-48-2, Giles 18-2-51-1, Bell 1-0-12-0, Pietersen 9-1-28-0