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Page last updated at 07:16 GMT, Friday, 23 May 2008 08:16 UK

Ponting puts Australia in command

First Test, Kingston: Australia 301-4 v West Indies (day one, close)
Ricky Ponting
Ponting launches into a cover drive at Sabina Park

Australia captain Ricky Ponting scored his 35th Test century to put his side on top after day one of the first Test against West Indies in Jamaica.

Ponting made 158 before falling to Dwayne Bravo and now stands second on the Test hundreds list, just four behind India's Sachin Tendulkar.

The tourists lost both openers cheaply before Mike Hussey (56) helped Ponting add 137 for the third wicket.

And Brad Hodge chipped in with 53 not out as they reached 301-4 at stumps.

It was a disappointing outcome for the home side, who went into lunch in upbeat mood after paceman Fidel Edwards achieved a double breakthrough during the morning session.

With Matthew Hayden sitting out the match because of injury, Australia had a new-look opening pairing of Phil Jaques and Simon Katich.

But they were together for less than four overs before Katich, playing his first Test for two-and-a-half years, sliced a ball from Edwards to Darren Sammy at gully and departed for 12.

Jaques followed for nine when he was pinned on the back foot and adjudged lbw, forcing Ponting and Hussey to bat with care in order to prevent further damage.

Ponting was in a more aggressive frame of mind after lunch, however, and after reaching his half century with a single off Sammy, he brought up the century partnership by pulling a ball from Dwayne Bravo through mid-wicket for four.

Debutant off-spinner Amit Jaggernauth bowled tidily in his first spell in Test cricket and eventually broke the partnership when a sharply turning delivery found the edge of Hussey's bat and Bravo swooped to take a magnificent one-handed slip catch.

The end of Hussey's innings brought in Hodge, a batsman only in the side because of Hayden's injury and Michael Clarke's delayed arrival in the Caribbean following the death of his fiancée's father.

But Hodge looked equally solid in a partnership of 119 with Ponting, who completed his 137-ball century soon after tea.

Australia were only 10 minutes away from stumps when Ponting attempted another pull, but this time failed to keep it down and Brenton Parchment took the catch.

It did not disturb Hodge, however, and he lifted Jaggernauth for six to bring up his fifty before night-watchman Mitchell Johnson blocked out the final over of play.

Australia captain Ricky Ponting: "I didn't feel like I did much wrong, to tell the truth. It's satisfying to be out there and feel in control again.

"150-odd - I'm happy with that, but it's day one of a Test match and lots of things can happen quickly in Test cricket.

"We have to make sure we put two really good days together. If we do that, we will be in the box seat in the game."

Vice-captain Mike Hussey: "It was nice to be there at the other end - I had the best seat in the house just to watch him play brilliantly.

"He's been very determined to score a big one early in the series and I thought he played particularly well on a pitch that was just a little bit up and down every now and then."

West Indies spin bowler Amit Jaggernauth: "Being given the ball with Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey at the crease was a huge challenge. I thought my performance in the end was a decent one, I handled it well.

"For a first day track, I thought the pitch had some degree of turn and I would expect as the Test goes along the turn would definitely increase - on the third and fourth days, it's going to be spinning huge."

see also
Injured Gayle to miss first Test
17 May 08 |  West Indies
Clarke to miss first Windies Test
16 May 08 |  Australia
Australia in West Indies 2008
02 Jan 08 |  Cricket

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