17 years post his epic at the Wanderers in Johannesburg, former Aussie skipper Ricky Ponting, recalling his knock, revealed how he was hell-bent on taking the Indian attack to the cleaners in the World Cup Final. Ponting’s 140* helped Australia beat India and lift their third World Cup title.
For several Indians across the world, March 23 is a forgettable date. The date marks the anniversary of Ricky Ponting’s unblemished ton in the World Cup final against India in 2003, a day when he was too perfect that people refused to believe that there was no ill-doing. A then 29-year-old Ponting dismantled an Indian attack comprising Zaheer Khan, Javagal Srinath, Ashish Nehra and Harbhajan Singh to propel his side to a mammoth score of 359 in the first innings and, in turn, to victory.
Now, 17 years on, the Aussie great recalled how, with 15 overs to go and with wickets in hand aplenty, he told his teammates that he was going to throw the kitchen sink on an Indian attack that he thought was there for the taking. The former skipper further added how Australia’s impeccable lower middle-order gave him the confidence to go for the kill without second thoughts.
"In the second drinks break, Australia were two down with 15 overs to go, I told the 12th man tell the boys to be ready because I am going to go for everything, right here, right now,” Ponting told cricket.com.au recalling his epic, reported news18.
"If it comes off we are going to get a huge score. I am not going to be happy with batting through and getting to 300 against that Indian attack. If I go from now and it comes off, we are going to post a massive score. I had great in the guys coming behind me and we still had Lehmann, Bevan, Symonds."
Ahead of play, though, things were not too straightforward for the Kangaroos. There were doubts on the fitness of Damien Martyn, who was visibly struggling with a finger injury, and the right-hander looked all set to miss the final.
Ponting recalled how he had a heart-to-heart conversation with Martyn and asked him if he was ready to play. Eventually, the elegant right-hander did indeed end up playing in the final and, apart from scoring an unbeaten 88*, starred in an unbeaten 234-run partnership with Ponting.
"I told him 'look me in the eye and tell me if you are right to play'. I wanted to Martyn to play in the World Cup, he is such a good player, such a good player of spin."
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