Ponting, Clarke make merry

 
Australia, who looked in trouble at eighty for three at lunch, finished the day on a high, after Ponting took full advantage of being dropped on zero, with unbeaten on 137.

Vice-captain Michael Clarke also joined in the massacre of a Pakistani team by scoring an unbeaten 111 as the pair combined for a record fourth-wicket stand for Australia against Pakistan of 231.

Pakistan claimed the wickets of Simon Katich, Shane Watson and Mike Hussey in quick succession but Ponting’s drop proved fatal. After Katich departed in the seventh over for 11, after being adjudged leg before wicket on referral from Mohammad Asif, Ponting arrived at the crease in desperate need of a big score after a lean summer.

But the Australian skipper nearly walked back to the pavillion in the same breath when he was again tempted into a hook shot by Asif and skied the ball straight to young paceman Mohammad Aamer at fine leg, who made a mess of it.

Ponting came into this match having scored just 216 runs at 27 in five Tests this summer and in fact since January last year the 35-year-old has been Australia's worst-performed batsman averaging just 36, which had resulted in his career average falling below 55 for the first time in five years.

Aamer looked by far the best of the Pakistan bowlers in the first session when he had Hussey caught behind for six, after Watson had fallen for 29 after cutting Gul straight to Imran Farhat at gully.

Score Board

Australia (I Innings)
Watson c Farhat b Gul    29
Katich lbw Asif    11
Ponting (batting)    137
Hussey c Sarfraz b Aamer    6
Clarke (batting)    111
Extras (lb-1, W-4, nb-3)    8     
Total (for 3 wkts, 90 overs)    302
Fall of wickets: 1-28, 2-52, 3-71.
Bowling: Asif 25-6-68-1, Aamer 18-4-50-1, Gul 16-2-68-1, Kaneria 26-2-93-0, Malik 5-0-22-0.

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