RICKY Ponting’s 40th Test century will be analysed and dissected on many levels.
Hopefully, the experts will recognise that in the three innings so far between Australia and India, it was in fact Ponting who rescued each innings when our inexperienced top order failed to perform.
That team statistic will be far more important to Ponting than his own personal glory.
Sure, he will be a relieved man to score his first century in nearly two years.
He has been written off by so many experts for so long that it has become tiresome.
Fortunately, his contribution to the team and unwavering support from the Australian squad and now two sets of selectors is quite revealing.
Everybody marvels at Ponting’s work ethic at training. Young players are in awe of playing alongside such a legend of the game.
Ricky Ponting, the mentor, clearly plays a huge role in the team.
However, he is a realist and as a top order batsmen he has consistently acknowledged that he will be judged on his performances.
The fact that Ponting still clearly has a huge competitive appetite for first class cricket and has worked tirelessly to achieve this breakthrough century is a tribute to his grit and professionalism.
In this celebratory 100th Test at the SCG, Ponting now has more centuries and has more runs at this venue than any other player.
Flanked by the two other greatest run scorers in the game, Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid, Ponting is the only one to really perform in this series.
Tendulkar has now gone 17 innings since his last Test century but all cricket followers seem to relish the chance to see him play.
The same respect and admiration should be shown to Ponting.
He is our highest run scorer in both Tests and one-day internationals, the world’s most successful Test and ODI captain and a fieldsman of the highest calibre.
We should delight in his skills, his doggedness and his determination to succeed for his country.
It will be many years before we see an Australian player who approaches his shadow.
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