Ponting blasts Aussies to world record 434-4

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JOHANNESBURG, Mar 12 (Reuters) Ricky Ponting blasted a milestone century to steer Australia to a world record total in the decisive fifth one-day international against South Africa today.

Australia, who won the toss and chose to bat on a near perfect one-day pitch, amassed 434 for four in their 50 overs.

The previous record was the 398 for five Sri Lanka scored against Kenya in Kandy in 1995-96.

A rampant Ponting led the way with a magnificent 164, which made him the first Australian to reach 9,000 runs in one-day internationals.

Ponting's innings, the third highest by an Australian, also made him the first Australian and the fourth player overall to score 20 one-day centuries.

Australian captain Ponting reached his century off 73 balls, and in all he faced 105 deliveries, hitting 13 fours and nine sixes.

South Africa could find no effective answer to Ponting's unrelenting assault as he sprayed runs all around the ground.

Adam Gilchrist and Simon Katich launched Australia's innings with an aggressive stand that reached 97 in the 16th over before Gilchrist was dismissed by seamer Roger Telemachus.

Andrew Hall dived to his left at mid-on to take a stunning catch and remove Gilchrist for 55.

Katich and Ponting piled on the agony for South Africa until Katich cut a delivery from fast bowler Makhaya Ntini and was caught by Telemachus at third man for 79.

Ponting and Michael Hussey shared 158 for the third wicket before Hussey, who scored a brisk 81, tried to heave a ball from medium pacer Hall over long-on and was caught by Ntini.

Ponting was dismissed in the 48th over when his lofted drive was caught by Boeta Dippenaar.

The series is tied at 2-2.

REUTERS PDS KN1758

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