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Pakistan pace bowler Umar Gul said legendary Australia captain Ricky Ponting and iconic West Indies batsman Brian Lara were the two toughest batsmen he bowled to since they were tough competitors.
Ponting is the second-highest run-scorer in Test history with 13,378 runs in 168 matches, which included 41 centuries and 62 fifties, at an average of 51.85.
He is also the third-highest run-scorer in ODI cricket with 13,704 runs in 375 games, which included 30 hundreds and 82 half-centuries, at an average of 42.03.
In regards to his T20 International career, Ponting made 401 runs in 17 matches at an average of 28.64. He struck two half-centuries, which included a career-best knock of 98 not out.
Lara was one of the most prolific batsmen the West Indies ever produced, as he represented his country in 131 Tests. He accumulated 11,953 runs, including 34 centuries and 48 half-centuries, at an average of 52.88.
But, Lara will forever be remembered as the man who single-handedly tore England apart after he scored 400 not out against them in 2004, which to this day still remains the record for the highest individual score in a Test match.
The 51-year-old also featured in 299 ODIs, where he scored 10,405 runs, which included 19 hundreds and 63 fifties, at an average of 40.48.
“Brian Lara and Ricky Ponting have always been my all-time favourite batsmen and it had always been my dream to bowl to these greats and if possible, take their wickets as well,” Gul told PakPassion. “They were tough competitors and very difficult to remove but thanks to the Almighty, I was able to get Brian Lara out three times and claimed Ponting’s wicket on one occasion during my international career.
“I especially enjoyed taking the wicket of Brian Lara in the first Test in Lahore during the 2006 tour of Pakistan by the West Indies. Lara was no ordinary batsman and taking the wicket of this great batsman at home is something I will remember for a long time.”