Australian skipper Ricky Ponting celebrates his second century of the match in Sydney. Photo: AAPIMAGE
Australian skipper Ricky Ponting celebrates his second century of the match in Sydney. Photo: AAPIMAGE

Ponting batting king



SYDNEY (AAP): Ricky Ponting's golden summer just gets better with the ICC rankings confirming the Australian skipper has strengthened his grip on the world No.1 batting ranking.

Australia's 2-0 series win over South Africa has also boosted the powerful position of Ponting's side atop the team rankings.

Ponting leapt for joy after hitting the winning runs at the SCG, scoring 120 and 143 not out in his side's eight-wicket victory in the third Test on Friday.

The 31-year-old Tasmanian now has a ranking of 922, which is the highest since big Queensland opener Matthew Hayden rose to 935 points following his twin hundreds against England in Brisbane in 2002-03.

Ponting's twin centuries have lifted him from 16th to 10th on the list of runscorers in Test cricket.

The dashing No.3 batsman now boasts 28 Test centuries, one behind Australia's incomparable Don Bradman and also trailing former Australian skipper Steve Waugh (32).

Ponting is sixth-best among Test cricket's century-makers, trailing overall leader India's Sachin Tendulkar who has 35 hundreds.

Asked about Bradman, Ponting said: "He played about half as many games as me didn't he?

Bradman did indeed play only 52 matches.

"It's a nice feeling but at the end of the day it doesn't mean a whole lot," Ponting said. He also passed former Australian captain Allan Border's 27 tons and Border's record of 1177 Test runs on the SCG.

"I feel really good about my game at the moment," Ponting said.

"You probably have periods of time where you think you are probably batting as well as you ever have."

But the man who led Australia to an Ashes series defeat is not one for ticking off personal milestones, having already admitted he can't wait for next summer's Ashes series.

Ponting said he was a little frustrated with the SCG ground announcer this week constantly informing fans of his feats.

"There were some ones I didn't think he had to say. Like a thousand Test runs against South Africa, whoopee!," Ponting said.

"I might have a word to him actually and see if he can keep them quiet for a while.

"I think that was my fourth or fifth hundred so the SCG has been a good place for me to play."

It was actually his fifth, which is also an SCG record.

"It has just turned out to be an almost perfect Test match for the team," added Ponting, who smashed 515 runs at 103.00 in the series against South Africa.

Hayden, who combined with Ponting for a second-wicket stand of 182 in Australia's second innings, drops from second to fifth on the batting rankings despite 4 and 90 in the third Test.

Former world No.1-ranked batsman Jacques Kallis has climbed from fifth back to second with his 111 and 50 not out for South Africa in the third Test.

Glenn McGrath has regained top spot on the rankings with the paceman's Australian team-mate Shane Warne slipping two places to third.

Australia is on 14 points in the ICC Test Championship Table, rebounding from its Ashes series loss with a 210-run win over the World XI and a 3-0 series sweep against the West Indies.

Ponting's men were only eight points ahead of England on the table after the Ashes.

But five wins and a draw in six matches against the West Indies and South Africa, plus England's 2-0 series loss in Pakistan, have lifted Australia to 129 points with India now second on 115 and England on 113.

South Africa, which will host Australia for a three-Test series in March, has slipped from fifth to sixth spot on 99, one point behind New Zealand. Pakistan is fourth on 103.Australian skipper Ricky Ponting celebrates his second century of the match in Sydney. Photo: AAPIMAGE

Ponting batting king

SYDNEY (AAP): Ricky Ponting's golden summer just gets better with the ICC rankings confirming the Australian skipper has strengthened his grip on the world No.1 batting ranking.

Australia's 2-0 series win over South Africa has also boosted the powerful position of Ponting's side atop the team rankings.

Ponting leapt for joy after hitting the winning runs at the SCG, scoring 120 and 143 not out in his side's eight-wicket victory in the third Test on Friday.

The 31-year-old Tasmanian now has a ranking of 922, which is the highest since big Queensland opener Matthew Hayden rose to 935 points following his twin hundreds against England in Brisbane in 2002-03.

Ponting's twin centuries have lifted him from 16th to 10th on the list of runscorers in Test cricket.

The dashing No.3 batsman now boasts 28 Test centuries, one behind Australia's incomparable Don Bradman and also trailing former Australian skipper Steve Waugh (32).

Ponting is sixth-best among Test cricket's century-makers, trailing overall leader India's Sachin Tendulkar who has 35 hundreds.

Asked about Bradman, Ponting said: "He played about half as many games as me didn't he?

Bradman did indeed play only 52 matches.

"It's a nice feeling but at the end of the day it doesn't mean a whole lot," Ponting said. He also passed former Australian captain Allan Border's 27 tons and Border's record of 1177 Test runs on the SCG.

"I feel really good about my game at the moment," Ponting said.

"You probably have periods of time where you think you are probably batting as well as you ever have."

But the man who led Australia to an Ashes series defeat is not one for ticking off personal milestones, having already admitted he can't wait for next summer's Ashes series.

Ponting said he was a little frustrated with the SCG ground announcer this week constantly informing fans of his feats.

"There were some ones I didn't think he had to say. Like a thousand Test runs against South Africa, whoopee!," Ponting said.

"I might have a word to him actually and see if he can keep them quiet for a while.

"I think that was my fourth or fifth hundred so the SCG has been a good place for me to play."

It was actually his fifth, which is also an SCG record.

"It has just turned out to be an almost perfect Test match for the team," added Ponting, who smashed 515 runs at 103.00 in the series against South Africa.

Hayden, who combined with Ponting for a second-wicket stand of 182 in Australia's second innings, drops from second to fifth on the batting rankings despite 4 and 90 in the third Test.

Former world No.1-ranked batsman Jacques Kallis has climbed from fifth back to second with his 111 and 50 not out for South Africa in the third Test.

Glenn McGrath has regained top spot on the rankings with the paceman's Australian team-mate Shane Warne slipping two places to third.

Australia is on 14 points in the ICC Test Championship Table, rebounding from its Ashes series loss with a 210-run win over the World XI and a 3-0 series sweep against the West Indies.

Ponting's men were only eight points ahead of England on the table after the Ashes.

But five wins and a draw in six matches against the West Indies and South Africa, plus England's 2-0 series loss in Pakistan, have lifted Australia to 129 points with India now second on 115 and England on 113.

South Africa, which will host Australia for a three-Test series in March, has slipped from fifth to sixth spot on 99, one point behind New Zealand. Pakistan is fourth on 103.



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