23 Jan 2010

White century blasts Australia to five wicket win over Pakistan in first one dayer

6:17 am on 23 January 2010

The Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting praised Cameron White's maturity as the Victorian broke his home-soil shackles to blast the home side to a five-wicket win over Pakistan at the Gabba.

White produced his finest one-day knock in Australia, bashing 105 off 88 balls with eight fours and four sixes, to lead Ponting's team past Pakistan's total of 274 with nine balls to spare.

After 22 ODIs at home, it was the first time the big Victorian had scored a half-century let alone a hundred, and his rampaging innings deserved to be witnessed by a much bigger crowd than the 19,758 on hand.

Australia were a shaky 84 for 3 after 18 overs when White replaced an out-of-touch Ricky Ponting (27) at the crease.

Ponting said the burly 26-year-old timed his innings perfectly, putting a down payment on victory with three consecutive sixes off Shahid Afridi in the 41st over.

The worrying cloud over one-day cricket's future darkened with the Gabba half-empty for the opening match of the five-game series.

The attendance stands as by far the worst in Brisbane for a 50-over match featuring Australia; 35,000-plus crowds have been the norm since the Gabba was redeveloped a decade ago.

The Gabba annually packed in more fans in the 1980s and '90s when the ground was lined by a dog track and could only hold a bare 21,000.

There are fears the crowd for the second match in Sydney on Sunday will be equally as bad with only 17,500 tickets sold.

Australia will go there 1-nil up thanks mainly to White's second one-day century.