Prolific Ponting calls the shots
Ricky Ponting reflected on a job well done after he helped Australia brush England aside with a near-faultless performance in the ICC Champions Trophy semi-final.
Australia overhauled a target of 258 with 8.1 overs to spare at Centurion, and for the loss of just one wicket – thanks to unbeaten centuries from Ponting and Shane Watson.
They made 111 and 136 respectively, and their unbroken 252-run partnership – an Australia record for the second wicket in one-day internationals – was the highlight of a thoroughly dominant display which began with their pace bowlers reducing England to 101 for six.
Ponting, whose hundred represented his 28th in this form of the game, marshalled Australia’ pursuit in masterful fashion before Watson’s late flurry of sixes.
"I felt in control and that is what you try to achieve,” said the captain, who became the first Australian to pass 12,000 runs during his 115-ball innings.
"The Australian team prides itself in playing well in big games. We have been talking about playing at a level that is going to get us into big games.
"I've felt really good since the break at the end of the Ashes when I went home for 10 or 12 days.
"Since I've come back I've felt I've been batting really well. I've certainly felt in control the last couple of weeks.”
Victory represented Australia’s seventh win in eight games over England in the last month, following their 6-1 triumph in the NatWest Series, and Ponting revealed their plan was coming together ahead of Monday’s final against Pakistan or New Zealand.
He added: “Right from the start of the England series we were focusing being well prepared for the Champions Trophy, and getting ourselves in a position like today, where we can play our best cricket when it matters.”
Ponting paid tribute to his seamers after they made early inroads into the England top order, although he admitted they let themselves down during Tim Bresnan and Luke Wright’s 107-run stand for the seventh wicket.
"To take six wickets for 100 was a good start for us,” he added. “The run-rate was pretty high, but I said to the bowlers right from the start to really attack and take wickets.
"We did that at regular intervals until the Wright-Bresnan partnership – we were a little bit sloppy with the ball at that stage. But the wicket was excellent, the outfield very fast and the ground not overly big so we were pretty confident.”