Ricky Ponting has been farewelled in his hometown, with a little help from his friends.
It read like a scorecard from Australian cricket’s glory years a decade ago.
Make that two decades. And without the AFL players.
Hayden 64, Gilchrist 40, Healy 17, Jones 4, Hughes 0-25.
And Petrie – as in North Melbourne’s Drew – 38 from 15 balls.
Star of the show Ricky Ponting hobbled to 83 not out after appearing to injure his groin while batting, and being ‘dropped’ at least a couple of times.
“Ricky Ponting’s 80 is a world-record score in Ricky Ponting tribute matches,” the ground announcer declared.
The Twenty20 celebration might have been Launceston’s biggest night, 17,771 turning out to thank the boy from working class suburb Mowbray.
They packed Aurora Stadium, which sits a stone’s throw from the club ground Ponting lit up as a kid.
Wearing Mowbray’s maroon and yellow, the 39-year-old’s side included Matthew Hayden, Brett Lee, Ian Healy, Dean Jones – and Richmond great Matthew Richardson.
The opposition, captained by Adam Gilchrist, boasted Michael Hussey, Justin Langer, Merv Hughes and some bloke batting at No.4 called Jarryd Roughead.
Ponting’s side made 6-207 in reply to the Gilchrist line-up’s 6-206, and the former Test skipper’s foundation an estimated $200,000.
Showmen Jones and Hughes hammed it up for the crowd, and the AFL contingent showed the game designed to keep cricketers fit in winter might still do that.
Kangaroo Petrie smashed four straight sixes in his knock, although the bowler was Hayden, while Roughead hit a full-pace Brett Lee ball over the boundary.
“It will help every family and every child suffering childhood cancer in Tasmania,” Ponting said.
The match had proved eventful before it even began, with three players pulling out.
Phil Hughes was waiting on a phone call to tell him he’d be joining Australia’s Test squad in South Africa.
Andrew Symonds was stranded by Cyclone Dylan in north Queensland.
And luckless former Test gloveman Tim Paine, whose career was interrupted for two years by a broken finger suffered in an exhibition match, was hospitalised after an insect bite.
The Tasmanian was recovering after he was bitten while walking his dog on a beach but expected to be fit for the Hobart Hurricanes’ Big Bash semi-final next week.