Ricky Ponting led Australia’s recovery in the second and final Test against Pakistan as his team reached 136 for two in their second innings, just 34 runs behind, when bad light forced an early close on the second day.
Ponting, the Australia captain, was 61 not out – the first fifty of the match on either side – and Michael Clarke 32 not out following a wicket-less final session.
Their stand was worth 81 - almost as many as Australia made when dismissed for just 88 in a dramatic first innings collapse.
Australia had been 170 behind on first innings after Pakistan made 258.
All-rounder Shane Watson took six wickets for 33 runs in 11 overs - the second time in as many matches he has taken Test-best figures - as Pakistan failed to bat Australia out of the game.
Australia have won their last 13 Tests against Pakistan and in January triumphed by 36 runs at Sydney despite a first innings deficit of 206.
Mohammad Asif’s figures of none for 42 off 13 overs were harsh on the seamer, who saw a number of close calls against both Ponting and Clarke go in the batsmen’s favour.
And when he did err, Ponting pounced to force Asif through cover point and pull him for well-struck fours in nearly three hours at the crease.
Ponting had survived several lbw appeals while padding up to be 18 not out and Clarke was unbeaten on two.
Australia’s second innings, like their first, began under grey skies.
And when opener Simon Katich was bowled round his legs, after shuffling across the crease in trademark fashion, by Aamer, Australia were 15 for one and in danger of a fresh collapse.
The 18-year-old Aamer might have had Ponting lbw for nought when the star batsman padded up and played no stroke to an inswinger. But Rudi Koertzen, in the South African’s last Test as an umpire, was unmoved.
Watson, who took two wickets the previous day, produced a post-lunch burst of four wickets for seven runs in 13 balls as Pakistan were dismissed for 258 and failing to capitalise on a good start.
Danish Kaneria and Asif added 24 at a run-a-ball for the last wicket before a comical mix-up saw Kaneria run out after Pakistan had started a rain-delayed second day on 148 for three.
Pakistan are trailing 1-0 in the two-match series after their loss at Lord”s. afp
Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2010.
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