Sydney:Australian captain Ricky Ponting, scoring his 35th Test century in the first Test against West Indies, has gone past cricket greats Sunil Gavaskar and Brian Lara and moved into second position behind Sachin Tendulkar in the elite list of Test century-makers.
Ponting shrugged off his indifferent form in the Indian Premier League Twenty20 championship and took Australia to 301 for four at stumps on the opening day at Sabina Park, Kingston, Jamaica.
The skipper's 35th Test century ended a long run of poor scores, mainly in one-day cricket.
It was Ponting's fourth hundred in a row in the Caribbean, and his seventh against West Indies which carried him past former India captain Gavaskar and West Indies captain Brian Lara, both on 34 in the list of batsmen with the most Test hundreds.
Ponting is now only behind Tendulkar, who holds the record with 39 centuries.
There was more to Ponting's century. He finished the innings 66 runs short of the magical 10,000 figure and it was also his second consecutive Test ton after he made 140 against India in Adelaide which ended his long lean patch in a controversial summer at home.
Former Australian prime minister John Howard and his wife Janette were in the stands at Sabina Park to witness Ponting's brilliant hundred.
Not to be left behind, new prime minister Kevin Rudd congratulated Ponting for his feat in Radio Network, saying it was "fantastic".
"It just makes your heart beat proud. Good on him and it's going to be fantastic watching it as it unfolds over there," Rudd is quoted as saying in The Australian.
Australia were down 37 for two when Ponting and Michael Hussey (56) came together to rescue the innings with a 137-run stand. Ponting then added 119 with Brad Hodge (53 batting) who left the Indian Premier League to join the squad as a replacement for vice-captain Michael Clarke who was given compassionate leave to join the team for the second Test.
However, the West Indies stuck to their task well and produced two blinding catches, including the one which snared Ponting only 11 minutes before stumps.
Ponting pulled a bouncer from Dwayne Bravo to square leg where Brenton Parchment flew through the air to his right to pluck a stunning one-handed catch.
Most centuries in Test cricket:
Sachin Tendulkar (Ind) 39
Ricky Ponting (Aus) 35
Brian Lara (WI) 34
Sunil Gavaskar (Ind) 34
Steve Waugh (Aus) 32
Jacques Kallis (SA) 30
Mathew Hayden (Aus) 30
Don Bradman (Aus) 29
Allan Border (Aus) 27
Garfield Sobers (WI) 26