Bangalore: By the time Shane Watson and Brad Haddin were launching the ball with frightening regularity into sparsely populated stands at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, Australia had taken control of a game that extended their unbeaten run in World Cups to 34 matches, and vaulted them from fourth to first in Group A.
Though the margin of victory - seven wickets with 91 balls to spare - was huge, they did not have it easy throughout. Canada ambushed them with the bat, and then created some chances with the new ball. Australia's pace and power eventually swamped them but Ashish Bagai's team exceeded expectations in their final World Cup appearance.
When Bagai chose to bat, the probability of an early finish in Bangalore increased significantly, but Australia's inevitable supremacy was delayed by an extraordinary attack from 19-year-old Hiral Patel, who batted fearlessly to score a rapid half-century off the world's fastest bowlers.
After the labour against Kenya, Ponting had said he wanted to win this convincingly but it wasn't until the 29th over, by which time Canada had reached 150 for 2, that Australia began to dominate.
Their surge was led by the wayward Shaun Tait, who had Bagai edging to Haddin. The ball was now scruffy and had begun to reverse. In his next over, Tait wasted a review on an unsuccessful lbw appeal for the second time, not spotting an inside edge from Zubin Surkari.
He floored Surkari, though, with his next two balls, a toe-crushing yorker followed by a full toss that struck the batsman painfully on the thigh. Rattled, Surkari attempted a flamboyant drive after getting back on his feet, and inside-edged on to middle stump.
Between those wickets, Jason Krejza dismissed Jimmy Hansra, whose attempted hit down the ground landed in long-on's hands. Brett Lee, who bore the brunt of the early onslaught, returned to uproot Rizwan Cheema's middle stump with a slower ball. Canada lost four wickets in four overs, and five for 19, and were soon dismissed for 211.
Having struggled in the field with his injured pinky, Ponting was unhappy, and his frustration showed when he collided with Steve Smith moments before catching Harvir Baidwan. Ponting flung the ball into the ground after taking the catch.
The build-up to the game was quiet: the Wednesday crowd was thin, the atmosphere sedentary. And then Patel woke everybody up. Using Lee's width and pace, he played two cuts. By the time you blinked, the ball had reached the boundary. He took a third four off Lee's first over with a drive through extra cover.
Against Tait, who had focused on bowling full and fast without success, Patel moved back and slammed a length delivery over the cover boundary. After three overs, Canada were 33 for 0.
There was no memorable swansong for 40-year-old John Davison, who was playing his final game. After three attacking boundaries, he gloved a slower bouncer from Lee to Haddin, ending the opening stand on 41, Canada's best of the World Cup.
Davison's dismissal did not deter Patel. He brought up Canada's 50 off 4.4 overs by edging an attempted loft off Mitchell Johnson so hard that it cleared third man. Realising Patel was at ease with balls in his half, Lee unleashed several short balls and even wanted a chat, but Patel did not bite.
And when Lee bowled one short ball too many, Patel hooked, and cleared deep-backward square leg. He reached his half-century off 37 deliveries, and after the mandatory Powerplay, Canada were 77 for 1. Patel's innings ended when, in the 12th over, he went hard at Watson and Johnson held the catch on the edge of the third-man boundary.
Australia slowly brought the run-rate under control. It finally dipped below six in the 19th over. Surkari and Bagai, however, batted steadily during their 68-run association. They steered Canada towards a commendable position before Australia's fast bowlers came back strongly - Lee finished with 4 for 46 - and set the stage for their batsmen.
Haddin and Watson both survived uncertain moments against the new ball before settling in to score at a steady pace. They were tested by Henry Osinde, a well built Uganda-born fast bowler who got the ball to bounce at pace and beat both Haddin and Watson with short balls. Harvir Baidwan could have dismissed Watson on 2 but Rizwan Cheema dropped the lofted mis-hit at mid-on. Haddin could have been dismissed on 23 but Ashish Bagai decided not to review an unsuccessful lbw appeal from Baidwan. Replays showed it was likely to have been overturned.
Thereafter opportunities for Canada were few. Haddin and Watson dominated the bowling during the batting Powerplay - 41 runs between overs 21 and 25 - and were soon finding the boundary at will. Both batsmen missed their centuries, though, holing out to catches in the deep, leaving the finish to their mates in the middle order.