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Thursday, 16 August, 2001, 19:21 GMT 20:21 UK
Ponting punishes England
Ricky Ponting takes the attack to Andy Caddick
Ricky Ponting takes the attack to Andy Caddick
Fourth Test, Headingley (day one): Australia 288-4 (close)

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Ricky Ponting and Mark Waugh have set the platform for a commanding first innings Australian total at Headingley.

The pair shared a third wicket partnership of 221 on the opening day of the fourth Test against a woeful England attack.

Individually Ponting stole the show with three sixes and 20 fours in a 154 ball 144, but Waugh weighed in with a valuable and composed 72.

Although the hosts dismissed both batsmen late in the day it was little consolation on what was undoubtedly their worst day in the series so far.

Nasser Hussain's men looked punch drunk and were reduced to bowling a barrage of bouncers which both Ponting and Waugh picked off the pedestrian pitch with glee, pulling boundary after boundary.

Ricky Ponting celebrates his century
Ponting celebrates his century
Their partnership was finally ended by Alex Tudor when he found an edge off Ponting's which carried through to Alec Stewart.

And Waugh was out off the final ball of the day when he could only fend a steepling delivery from Andy Caddick to Mark Ramprakash in the gully.

Earlier in the day Caddick had lifted England's hopes with two quick wickets in a spell in which Ponting survived a confident appeal for a catch in the slips when still on a duck.

From that moment on he never looked back and England's celebration soon became stagnation as Ponting and Waugh took control.

Their progress was imperious and at times they treated England's four-pronged seam attack with disdain, scoring at a rate more customarily associated with the one-day game.

In the late evening shadows, prior to Tudor's capture of Ponting, England's desperate search for a wicket led to Hussain to call on the two Marks - Butcher and Ramprakash.

Butcher entered the attack in the 47th over of the day and Ramprakash, looking for a first wicket of the season, was soon twirling his fingers in anger as well.

The Marx brothers would have caused the Australians more problems.

By then Waugh had already reached his 62nd Test half century moments before Ponting reached three figures, off only 113 balls, three overs later.

It was Ponting's first score of over 20 in the series and his first score of over 50 against England since he made 127 on the same pitch in 1997.

Andy Caddick appeals for Matthew Hayden's wicket
Caddick appeals for Hayden's wicket
Ponting had looked troubled when he first came to the wicket following Michael Slater's dismissal, lbw to Caddick for 21, and off only his third delivery he edged to Ramprakash at third slip.

But after much deliberation, the third umpire, Neil Mallender, adjudged the ball not to have carried.

English supporters did not have to wait long before celebrating again as only three runs later Matthew Hayden followed his opening partner back to the pavilion.

He too was trapped lbw by a delivery which knocked him to the ground after rapping his pads.

After overnight thunderstorms and early morning showers had delayed the start of play to 1415 BST, and Australia were quickly into their stride.

Slater made a bright start pulling the first ball of the day for four but it was a less auspicious start for Mullally.

Recalled after 19 months in the Test wilderness he misjudged the ball running round from fine leg to turn two runs into four, a sign of things to come if ever there was one.

England: Nasser Hussain (captain), Michael Atherton, Marcus Trescothick, Mark Butcher, Mark Ramprakash, Usman Afzaal, Alec Stewart, Alex Tudor, Andy Caddick, Darren Gough, Alan Mullally.

Australia: Adam Gilchrist (captain), Michael Slater, Matthew Hayden, Ricky Ponting, Mark Waugh, Simon Katich, Damien Martyn, Shane Warne, Brett Lee, Jason Gillespie, Glenn McGrath. 12th man: Justin Langer.

Umpires: DR Shepherd & S Venkataraghavan (Ind).

Third umpire: NA Mallender.

Match referee: Talat Ali (Pak).

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