Cricket Australia Items/news/2013/2/22/ponting-puts-tigers-in-control

Ponting puts Tigers in control

UPDATED 22 February, 2013 9:10PM AEST | by Gareth Morgan, Omnisport 6

A stirring innings of 76 from Ricky Ponting helped keep Tasmania firmly in control on day two of their Sheffield Shield clash with Western Australia at the WACA.

Having skittled the hosts out for 97 before lunch, the Tigers lost two early wickets in their second dig and were struggling to extend their 114-run lead when the 38-year-old Test legend strode out to the middle.

But by the time he departed two hours and four minutes later, the visitors were firmly back in the driving seat, eventually reaching 9-238 to leave WA trailing by a formidable 352 runs before bad light stopped play.

The consolation for the home supporters was the opportunity to witness a vintage Ponting batting performance, possibly for the last time.

Compact and watchful during a testing period just before lunch, he became more expansive as the afternoon session wore on, often elegant, occasionally brutal and rarely troubled by the home attack until he misjudged an innocuous delivery from Ryan Duffield and holed out to Michael Hogan.

The Warriors had already suffered plenty of punishment earlier in the day, failing miserably to emulate the gutsy rearguard action mounted by Tasmania's last four batsmen who added a priceless 74 runs to their side's total on day one.

Resuming at 6-54, Duffield (7) and Sam Whiteman (19) managed to last only six overs before Luke Butterworth (5-35) was introduced to the attack and swiftly had both caught behind.

Ashton Agar (13) didn't offer much more in the way of resistance as he picked put Jon Wells at mid-off to become Butterworth's third scalp of the morning and his fifth of the innings.

And when Burt Cockley (5) was trapped in front by the lively Adam Maher (2-16), the hosts found themselves facing a hefty deficit of 114.

Early wickets were therefore a must for WA in order to keep themselves alive in the contest and just as they had in the first innings, their quicks duly obliged.

Duffield (4-71) and Cockley (2-61) struck to account for openers Ben Dunk (8) and Mark Cosgrove (1) who both failed to reach double figures for the second time in the game and at 2-10, the Tigers were in danger of squandering their hard-earned advantage.

But having made a start in the first innings and failed to go on with it, Ponting looked in a determined mood, combining with Alex Doolan in the game's first 50 partnership and singling out Duffield and Cockley for some particularly heavy punishment to extend the Tigers' lead towards the 200-run mark.

The former Test skipper brought his 50 up with a textbook back-foot drive through the covers and in the same over, sent a short-pitched delivery from Cockley effortlessly over the midwicket boundary for six.

Doolan was eventually bowled by Hogan (1-43) for a circumspect 33 midway through the afternoon session before Duffield rather fortuitously brought Ponting's search for his 42nd first-class ton to an end and then appeared to enjoy another slice of luck as his optimistic lbw appeal against George Bailey (13) was upheld to leave the Tigers heading into the tea interval at 5-153.

Duffield, Cockley and Ashton Agar (1-52) then bowled reasonably well in the final session, but handy contributions from Jon Wells (43) and Jason Krejza (23 not out) helped the Tigers stretch their lead beyond the 350 mark and surely well beyond WA's reach.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

First Posted 22 February, 2013 9:08PM AEST

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