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

Australia chase another great escape

It's 103 years since a team won a Test having been bowled out for 88 or less in the first innings of the match. It's only six months since Pakistan last squandered a lead that should have been match-winning.

The Australians are not looking back a century as they embark on the third day at Headingley, where, remarkably, they became the bookmakers' favourites a day after being skittled for their lowest score in 26 years. Shane Watson dragged Australia back into the match with a six-wicket haul before Ricky Ponting led a batting counterattack, and despite taking a 170-run first-innings advantage, the ghosts of their Sydney meltdown could still haunt Pakistan.

"We have seen it before and it might bring back some memories to Pakistan of the Test match in Sydney a few months ago," Watson said. "They know exactly our fighting spirit as a team and what we are able to really turnaround from that Test in Sydney.

"I think that will really start to creep into their minds over the next day or so especially with Ricky and Michael [Clarke] batting very nicely at the moment. We know there is still a lot of hard work to go in this Test and hopefully we will continue to do that over the next couple of days and get the result like we did in Sydney."

The SCG result will certainly be on the minds of the seven Pakistan players in this match who were also present in January. It was certainly being considered by their coach Waqar Younis, who was not in charge back then, and he is confident that with early wickets his men can avoid a repeat.

"We had such a Test match back in Sydney recently so we don't really want to get into that sort of situation," Waqar said. "We don't want to lose this Test match. We're still 34 runs ahead of them, they have to start getting runs on top of us, so it's still very much an open game for us. Tomorrow, first session is a very important one. If we fetch a couple of wickets it'll do us good."

The key for Australia is Ponting, who survived a close lbw shout from his first ball when he offered no shot to Mohammad Aamer. Ponting dug in to register the first half-century of the match and by the close of the second day, he and his vice-captain Clarke had delivered Australia a sniff of victory, although Waqar knows removing Ponting will spark the Pakistan bowlers.

"If you look at the last Test he struggled against the swing bowling but [today] he managed to get out of that period where we were looking to get him out," Waqar said. "He's got 12,000 runs, you've got to give him credit. He's a class act, and he's looking good, definitely a danger-man for us. If we can fetch him early morning it will be a different story."

Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo

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