Ponting powers Australia to victory


Ricky Ponting cracked an impressive 90 not out to steer Australia to an easy eight-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in the second one-day international on Sunday. Ponting hit one six and eight fours in his 106-ball knock and skipper Michael Clarke made an unbeaten 58 as Australia surpassed Sri Lanka’s total of 208 with more than 11 overs to spare for a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.
The duo had also scored half-centuries in their team’s seven-wicket win in the previous match.
Fast bowler Doug Bollinger led Australia’s disciplined attack with three wickets to restrict Sri Lanka to a modest total before Ponting and Clarke ensured victory with their 107-run stand. Clarke, playing his 200th one-day international, hit two sixes and four boundaries in his 67-ball knock.
Ponting also added 94 for the second wicket with in-form opener Shane Watson (43) after the early dismissal of Brad Haddin. Watson, who became the first batsman to complete 1,000 runs in one-dayers this year, was bowled by paceman Lasith Malinga after hitting one six and four boundaries in his 51-ball knock. Bollinger was earlier superbly backed by fast bowlers Mitchell Johnson and Brett Lee, who bagged two wickets apiece.
Former captain Kumar Sangakkara top-scored for Sri Lanka with a patient 52, hitting just one six and one four in his 85-ball knock. He added 63 for the fifth wicket with Angelo Mathews (35). Lower-order batsman Nuwan Kulasekara helped Sri Lanka cross the 200-mark with a brisk 31-ball 34. Sangakkara fell just when he looked like stepping up the run-rate, caught by Johnson at long-on while attempting a big shot off spinner David Hussey in the 37th over.
Australia gained the upper hand when they reduced Sri Lanka to 77-4, with Lee, Johnson, Bollinger and left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty taking one wicket each. Skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan (24), Mahela Jayawardene (17) and Upul Tharanga (13) all got starts, but none could play a big knock.