Third Test Match

Australia v Pakistan 1999-2000

Completed by tea on the third day, this match was a sorry anticlimax after the fluctuations of the first two absorbing Tests. It certainly didn't help that 14 wickets fell on the opening day. Pakistan, still in a state of some demoralisation after the Hobart game, lost five wickets before lunch after choosing to bat on a typically bouncy Perth pitch and were all out in three and three-quarter hours. Australia's fast bowlers held an off-side line, just short of a length, and left it to the batsmen to feed the close catchers. Gilchrist's leg-side catch to dismiss Yousuf Youhana was in a class of its own. Four Australian wickets then fell for 54 inside 12 overs, but Langer, the local hero, and Ponting made a nonsense of all that had gone before. Together for almost six and a half hours, they shut Pakistan out of the game by adding 327, a record for any Australian wicket against these opponents and the highest fifth-wicket partnership against them by any country.

Langer batted seven and a quarter hours for his 144, his second successive century; only weeks before, the critics were calling for his head. Even more significant for Australia was 24-year-old Ponting's return to form after three consecutive noughts. He admitted he had been the butt of some teasing in the dressing-room, but his Test-highest 197 (288 balls, 22 fours), compiled in seven hours, silenced the mockers. Handsomely executed drives from both men repeatedly beat the fielders across the fast outfield, with Ponting always looking to dominate the bowling.

Left with 15 overs to bat on the second evening, after Australia's last five wickets went for 27 runs, Pakistan lost two wickets. Next morning, Saqlain Mushtaq was unable to resume his night-watchman's duties because of food poisoning. He returned when his fellow overnight batsman, Ijaz Ahmed, mishooked Kasprowicz to deep square leg to end a brave, brilliantly counter-attacking innings of 115. It was his 12th hundred in Tests and his sixth against Australia. For a time, Wasim Akram ignored his disappointments, as well as the groin injury suffered the previous day, and bludgeoned 52 from 40 balls. It was great fun but all in a lost cause. The Pakistanis could not even make Australia bat again for their victory.

Man of the Match: R. T. Ponting. Attendance: 40,449. Man of the Series: J. L. Langer.

© John Wisden & Co