Ponting leads Australia revival against Pakistan

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/r/rickyponting_pti.jpg' class='caption'> Ricky Ponting became only the second batsman in history to score 12,000 Test runs as he led Australia's recovery in the second Test against Pakistan.

Updated: July 23, 2010 08:54 IST
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Ricky Ponting became only the second batsman in history to score 12,000 Test runs as he led Australia's recovery in the second and final Test against Pakistan at Headingley on Thursday.

Australia were 136 for two in their second innings, just 34 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 wicketless final session.

Ponting's innings saw him get the 40 runs he needed to join India great Sachin Tendulkar as the only other batsman to have broken through the 12,000 Test runs barrier.

His stand with Clarke 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'd 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.

But Pakistan coach Waqar Younis insisted his team still had every chance of breaking a losing streak against Australia dating back to 1995.

"It's sort of even at the moment," said the former Pakistan fast bowler.

"We've still got 34 runs to play with and if we can pick up a couple of wickets early on (Friday) we can swing the match back in our favour.

"Under 200 is still chaseable on this pitch."

And as for memories of Sydney, preying on Pakistani minds, a defiant Waqar said: "We had this sort of situation in Sydney but this is still a very open game for us.

"Australia are very tough when it come to these sorts of situations but we have got to make sure we are tougher."

However, Watson added: "It might bring back some memories for Pakistan of that Test in Sydney. They know our fighting spirit and it might creep into their minds."

Waqar praised Ponting's landmark innings.

"You've got to give him credit, 12,000 runs, he's a class act and a dangerman for us," Waqar said.

An edged four to third man off left-arm quick Mohammad Aamer took Ponting to the 12,000 milestone on a ground where he made his first Test hundred back in 1997.

Mohammad Asif's figures of none for 42 off 13 overs were harsh on the seamer, who saw a number of close lbw 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.

Australia's second innings, like their first, began under grey skies.

And when 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.

Opener Watson helped Ponting add 40 for the second wicket before, on 24, he edged a cut off occasional medium-pacer Umar Amin into his stumps.

Watson had more joy as a bowler.

He produced a post-lunch burst of four wickets for seven runs in 13 balls, to add to his two wickets on Wednesday, as Pakistan were dismissed for 258.

Warson's return saw him surpass his previous best of five for 40 achieved only last week in Australia's 150-run series-opening win at Lord's.

Pakistan, 218 for five at lunch, were 222 for seven in the space of two Watson balls.

Kamran Akmal (15) was well caught low down at first slip by Marcus North and next ball Aamer was lbw, playing no stroke.

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.

This series is being played in England because of security concerns in Pakistan, where international cricket was effectively suspended following an armed attack on Sri Lanka's team bus in Lahore in March last year.

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