Pak v Aus, 2nd MCC Spirit of Cricket Test, Headingley, 2nd day July 22, 2010

Ponting and Watson lead Australia fightback


Australia 88 and 136 for 2 (Ponting 61*, Clarke 32*) trail Pakistan 258 (Butt 45, Watson 6-33) by 34 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Pakistan could be forgiven if they slept a little uneasily tonight after Australia battled back at Headingley. It started with Shane Watson taking career-best figures for the second match running, as his 6 for 33 removed Pakistan for 258 to limit the lead to 170, then Ricky Ponting dug deep into his resolve to compile a battling half century during which he passed 12000 Test runs.

Ponting and Michael Clarke settled Australia after both openers departed for 55, carrying the total to 136 for 2 when bad light brought an early close with 26 overs remaining in the day. Even though they remained 34 behind there was a growing feeling that the momentum was beginning to tilt Australia's way as Salman Butt seemed happy to set his field deep. Pakistan's players will have to be mentally strong to prevent their minds from wandering back to what happened at Sydney at the start of the year where they tossed away an invincible position, but Australia can use it as inspiration.

Particularly ominous for Pakistan on this occasion is that Ponting is starting to look as settled at the crease as at any time during this short series. Pakistan will rue that he survived a very close lbw shout first ball when he padded up to an inswinger from Mohammad Aamer. But from that moment he started growing in confidence and when he steered Aamer to third man to reach 40 he became the second batsman to cross 12,000 Test runs and a short while later notched fifty from 73 balls.

Clarke formed a solid ally and was quick to use his feet against Danish Kaneria, but was also fortunate to survive a torrid working-over from Mohammad Asif shortly before the light closed in. He was beaten on three occasions by perfect outswingers and the final one brought a huge appeal, but Rudi Koertzen correctly ruled bat had clipped pad, and he might also have been given out padding up to one that came back in.

Pakistan's last five wickets were blown away for 36 after lunch as Watson found himself on a hat-trick, but his success only went to confirm that conditions remained heavily in the bowlers' favour. It made the 170-run advantage substantial and Pakistan began with high hopes of making inroads. Aamer found immediate movement with the new ball and slanted one behind Simon Katich's pads to take out leg stump, but Asif couldn't quite conjure the same threat as the first innings during his first eight overs.

However, for the second time in the match, Butt pulled off an inspired change when he threw to ball to Umar Amin and the part-time medium-pacer forced Watson to play into his stumps. Still, it was slightly odd when Butt persisted with Amin after tea and that allowed Ponting and Clarke to ease into their task during the evening session as the pace of the game plateaued after a manic five sessions.

Watson's full swing, delivered at a fairly gentle pace, was too much for a string of batsmen as he produced a performance that had been out of reach for the frontline pacemen and edhis figures from Lord's. Kamran Akmal, who was dropped on 10 by Mike Hussey in the gully, edged low to first slip where Marcus North took the catch inches off the turf then Aamer was given a taste of his own medicine when he padded up to an inswinger. It looked out on first impressions, but Hawkeye said it was missing off stump.

There was no stopping Watson as a full, straight delivery demolished Gul's stumps and Shoaib Malik, left stranded as wickets tumbled, top-edged a slog to Tim Paine before the innings ended with the slightly comical run out of Kaneria.

The day had begun in equally chaotic style with Umar caught off a no-ball from the fourth delivery when he had an almighty mow across the line and skied a catch to cover off Mitchell Johnson. It's hard to believe he had time to hear the call - which replays suggested was harsh - and it was clear Umar was in no mood for consolidation.

Predictably, he didn't survive long as Johnson located the right line outside off and found the edge, but Australia's early bowling was again varied. Ben Hilfenhaus strayed onto leg stump which allowed Amin to collect easy runs through the on side while Johnson struggled to maintain a consistent line.

Amin had battled hard to lay a foundation which made his dismissal more disappointing when he failed to pull his bat down as he ducked a Hilfenhaus short ball and a catch flew off the toe end to square leg. Maybe it was a sign that Australia's fortunes had turned in this match and they, more than most sides, know how to pull themselves back from the brink.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • M Athar on July 24, 2010, 10:55 GMT

    Dear Ricky, what did you say "13 and counting", I hope this will teach you not to open your mouth before the result of the match......WELL DONE PAKISTAN. Salman Butt, well spoken at the presentations and dedicating the match to the People of Pakistan.

  • John on July 23, 2010, 11:33 GMT

    Being an Australian fan has been an easy task for the last twenty years. It looks like things have just got a bit harder. I have finally admitted to myself that this current Aussie team is not very good!

    This is territory I haven't visited since the 'eighties. So what do I do? Apparently I'm not supposed to panic. This was emphasized by the selectors last year and the coach just the other day.

    Okay, so they would be the first ones out the door if there was a panic. Still, panic is not a healthy thing for an armchair sportsman. Therefore, I ask my fellow armchair athletes who happen to support teams we used to beat, what can I do?

    What did you do when Australia had a team we could be proud of?

  • Dummy4 on July 23, 2010, 11:00 GMT

    Three wickets this morning and another 2 before lunch will do the job. Inshallah Pakistan will WIN this match and end the streak of losing to Australia 13 times in a row. Bring back Yousuf and Younis for the England series, persist with Umar Amin, get rid of Azhar ( bad foot movements or rather no movement), keep Umar ( Needs talking to) and Kamran Akmal, replace Kaneria with Saeed Ajmal or Abdurehman (Preferably Saeed- Off spinners are always useful in England), Shoaib Malik goes, Bring Yasir Hameed in place of Imran Farhat and we should have a good team as below. Salman Butt, Yasser Hameed, Mohammad Yousuf, Umar Amin,Younis Khan, Umar Akmal, Kamran Akmal, Mohammad Aamir, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Asif.

  • mohammad on July 23, 2010, 10:21 GMT

    @Rahim : You have a point possibly. Rudi will make it up by giving an australian bowler LBW who was not out and not giving a Pak bowler not out who would be LBW out. I thought a NZ and Srilanka umpire would be better in such match. But upmires in general are fair I believe. One Pak umpire has the best record in cricket unlike their batsmen who has now very poor conditions. With Ponting and Hussey out Pak tail can move up. So upmire's decisions will be crucial.

  • Rana on July 23, 2010, 10:09 GMT

    Day-4: Australia beats Pakistan by 88 runs while Pak was supposed to chase 225 runs.

  • Tanveer on July 23, 2010, 9:55 GMT

    hahahahaaa Umpires to the rescue once again .. Ask anybody having watched this lbw shout again Hussey, even though the hawk-eye suggests otherwise.

  • Dummy4 on July 23, 2010, 9:32 GMT

    Pakistan again showed how to have a great collapse..

  • usman on July 23, 2010, 9:22 GMT

    @anish284 please your gully coaches to teach your batsman how to play short balls and also teach rahul dravid how to judge a run .. your team bwled out twice and lose the match by 10wickets so they need your gully coaches more than pakistan

  • Robert on July 23, 2010, 8:21 GMT

    There seems to be a lot of complaints about the umpire decisions. The fact is most decisions not given out would have been supported by UDRS. A decision would not be changed unless more than half of the ball is hitting the stumps provided it has pitched and struck the batsman in line. On the one occasion the ball was fully hitting the stumps v Ponting first ball yes he would have been given out by UDRS. In turn Hussey would not have been out in the first innings by UDRS when the ball was missing leg stump so potentially Australia could have scored more. Things usually level out in a game and have on this occasion.

  • Ian on July 23, 2010, 7:42 GMT

    On one hand Australia will be pleased that they've clawed their way back into contention, on the other hand they'll be worried that it was Watto who did the bowling honours for them again. Johnson, Bollinger and Hilfenhaus need to find form fast if they want to be anywhere near full strength. Not all opposition teams are as reckless in batting as Pakistan.

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