Captain Does The Job For Oz
Ricky Ponting's century helped Australia to a 203-run victory over Scotland in their opening World Cup Group A clash.
Ricky Ponting and Glenn McGrath shone as Australia inflicted defeat on Scotland by the second-highest margin in World Cup history in the Group A opener.
Ponting (113) plundered a record-equalling fourth World Cup hundred as a largely disciplined attack proved unable to contain him and conceded 334 for six.
Scotland's batsmen therefore knew they had no realistic chance of causing an upset – and once they ran into McGrath (three for 13), it required some sensible batting from Colin Smith (51) to salvage pride on the way to 131 all out and a 203-run loss.
Ponting came to the crease following an opening stand of 91 and reached three figures in just 86 balls – hitting four sixes and nine fours and going second to only Sachin Tendulkar as all-time top runscorer in this competition.
His innings featured a relatively modest collection of trademark on-drives but some handsome and entirely assured blows over the top – from the bowling of slow left-armer Glenn Rogers in particular.
Matthew Hayden (60) and Adam Gilchrist gave Pointing an ideal platform, after Australia were put in on a cloudy morning.
Paul Hoffmann bowled a typically accurate new-ball spell. But it was not until Dougie Brown came on at the Town End that Scotland got the breakthrough they badly needed.
The Warwickshire seamer's clever disguise of pace had Gilchrist playing across and missing an off-cutter which won an lbw verdict.
Hayden continued to pick gaps in the field uncannily in a 58-ball half-century containing one six – planted into the stand at long-on off Hoffmann – and five fours.
Ponting had a scare on 23 when another tricky piece of bowling from Brown found a healthy outside edge which wicketkeeper Smith could not quite gather, standing up to the stumps.
Hayden missed a casual clip off his legs to go lbw in Majid Haq's first over, and the off-spinner also got rid of Michael Clarke – bowled attempting an ambitious pull.
Brad Hodge helped Ponting add 64 in nine overs for the fourth wicket. But after both went aiming big hits, Hodge caught in the deep off Rogers and Ponting bowled by his opposite number Craig Wright, it seemed for a time a 35-minute rain delay might have stalled Australia's momentum.
Instead, though, Brad Hogg clubbed an unbeaten 40 off 15 balls as the world champions bagged 53 runs in the last three overs.
Scotland were hampered by the absence of their quickest bowler John Blain, who suffered cramp after his opening spell and got through only four overs.
Their reply suffered an early self-inflicted blow when Haq escaped a faulty single to Clarke – a direct hit would have run him out by yards – only to be beaten by McGrath's return from the deep as he attempted a third from the initial overthrow.
That was the first of five top-order wickets to fall for the addition of 21 runs.
Navdeep Poonia lost middle stump playing across the pace of Shaun Tait – and then old hand McGrath took his opportunities as first change.
Fraser Watts was a little unfortunate to edge a back-foot defence down into the ground and back on to off-stump, Ryan Watson got in a tangle and was caught at short fine-leg, and Gavin Hamilton went in regulation McGrath fashion – caught behind from a ball on a tight line just back of a good length.
From 42 for five, Scotland could hope for damage limitation at best – and thanks to Smith's assured maiden one-day international 50, from 72 balls, they just about managed that.
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