Ponting joins 10,000 Test run club

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Antigua, May 31 (UNI) Australia captain Ricky Ponting has become the seventh player to join the elite club of batsmen attaining the 10,000-run mark in Test cricket.

Ponting, who raced to the mark in just 118 Tests, became the second fastest man to achieve the coveted milestone after West Indian great Brian Lara who needed 111 Tests to complete the feat.

The 33-year-old, who made 158 in the first innings of the first Test in Kingston, Jamaica last week, went to the crease yesterday needing 61 runs to become a part of the elite group.

He reached the milestone by cover-driving part-time legspinner Ramnaresh Sarwan for a couple, taking his score from 59 to 61.

However, Ponting finished the innings with 10,004 runs after playing a thick edge to slip on a personel score of 65.

''It's taken 13 years of international cricket to get 10,000 Test runs,'' Ponting said to the local media after the end of the day's play.

''Everyone growing up wishes they could do it, but the thing I'm most proud about is my longevity in the game. To play so many Tests, I'm proud of that record. As a top-order batsman, if you play that many games, you're probably expected to get close on 10,000.'' Former captains Allan Border and Steve Waugh are the only other Australians to have passed the 10,000 Test runs milestone.

The other three palyers who are also the part of the run club are Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid.

Ponting, however, thinks that Sachin's record will out of reach for any cricketer.

''I'm continually chasing Brian (11,953 runs) and Sachin (11,782),'' he said. ''Brian has finished but Sachin has got a few years left. Right now, my body has been sound for a few years. I've had some niggling back things, but I am working pretty hard to keep out of harm's way.'' UNI XC RKM AB BST1837

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