Australia XI have reached 6-233 to give themselves a 353-run lead and move to the cusp of victory going into the final day of their match with the England Lions.
We’re three weeks into cricket’s most important tournament, and today we look back at five of the best centuries scored by Australians in World Cups.
5. Adam Gilchrist – 149 vs Sri Lanka (2007)
Who can forget this innings? One of the most destructive knocks ever played in a World Cup, let alone a World Cup final.
This innings by one of the most destructive batsmen of all time effectively won the tournament for Australia.
This effort could have been ranked higher but only for the fact that it came against a relatively weak team. People might wonder how that can be said about a side that reached the final, but the Australian team of that era made all their opponents look much weaker.
4. Ricky Ponting – 140 vs India (2003)
Coming into the final, both teams were high on confidence. Australia won all their matches and India won all theirs except the group match against the Aussies.
The openers had given Australia a good start before Harbhajan Singh brought India back into the game.
However, Ponting had other plans. He single-handedly demolished the Indian bowling, hitting a record 8 sixes along the way to put his team firmly in the driver’s seat.
3. Mark Waugh – 110 vs New Zealand (1996)
Some people might be surprised to see this innings ranked higher than the earlier two, which came in finals.
However, Mark Waugh’s ton in the 1996 quarter-finals was a tougher one as it came in a successful run chase.
NZ had posted a formidable 280-plus total, which was huge for those times. A special innings was required to overhaul it. And in came Waugh, who played an elegant gem of a knock.
2. Ricky Ponting – 102 vs West Indies (1996)
At No.2 again we have a Ponting special.
Ponting walked in wearing a cap, which in itself would have been enough to incense the great West Indian fast bowlers. But a young Ponting was making a statement.
It was a fine knock against a strong attack. And for the sheer courage, it has to rank amongst the best tons ever.
1. Steve Waugh – 120 vs South Africa (1999)
Ask anyone to name the best ton played in World Cups by an Aussie and it wouldn’t be a surprise if most name this Steve Waugh performance.
It was a do-or-die game for Australia. South Africa had posted 272 and Australia were tottering at 3/48 in reply. And in walked Waugh.
Midway through the innings he was dropped by Herschelle Gibbs, an incident immortalised by the ‘You’ve just dropped the World Cup’ sledge by Waugh.
That line showed how supremely confident Waugh was of winning the tournament even when his team was in dire straits. This innings set Australia on course to be the most dominant team for the next decade.