Ricky Ponting never had a great run against the Indians, often struggling against their spinners. But the Australian skipper changed all that in the 2003 World Cup final with a brilliant hundred.
India were making their second final after appearance after that epochal 1983 victory at Lord’s, and the Aussies were playing in their fourth title clash and seeking third crown.
Nerves were obvious in Indian camp. Zaheer Khan sprayed the ball all over, giving away 15 runs to Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist. India never were in the picture after that.
However, that first-over blitz was a just an appetiser as Ponting dished out the main course in style later in the company of Damien Martyn.
Ponting was devastating. He unleashed his trademark pull shots to great effect on a Wanderers pitch that offered true bounce, leaving Indian spinners and pacers shellshocked. Harbhajan Singh, his past tormentor, was taken apart mercilessly. India fielded three capable pacers -- Javagal Srinath, Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra, but the trio was clobbered out of the park as the Tasmanian hammered eight sixes and four fours in his 140. Martyn made a typically elegant 88 but on that day it was just a footnote as Australia finished with a massive 359 for two in 50 overs.
Glenn McGrath ousted Sachin Tendulkar early to jolt India. Virender Sehwag played an 81-ball 82 but all India could manage was 234 all out in 39.2 overs. Ponting was the real hero as he joined the club of Clive Lloyd, Viv Richards and Aravinda de Silva -- men who shaped the fortune of their teams with individual brilliance on the grandest stage of them all.