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Ponting, Clarke Crack Tons Against Pak, Score 302/3

PTI 14 Jan 2010, 16:21:34 PM IST

Australian batsmen dominated the first day's play after losing three early wickets in the third and the final Test here at the Bellerive Oval on Thursday.

Captain Ricky Ponting and middle-order batsman Michael Clarke cracked hundreds to take Australia to a formidable 302-3 after losing three early wickets for 71 runs.

Both batsmen added 231 runs for an unbeaten fourth wicket partnership.

At stumps, Ponting was batting on 137 while Clarke remained not out on 111 and they cracked 17 and 11 boundaries, respectively.

Both are celebrating a welcome return to form after weathering difficult summers and an indifferent start to their innings.

The Australian captain had yet to score when he was dropped on the boundary by Mohammad Aamer off the bowling of Mohammad Asif in the first session.

Clarke lunged and missed repeatedly at Asif outside off stump early in his innings but could not get an edge and managed to play himself into form the day went on.

Asif trapped Simon Katich (11) in front with the score on 28, but his extended appeal was turned down by umpire Asoka de Silva. However, he gave him out after the Pakistanis asked for a review and were successful.

Watson (29) was caught at point by Imran Farhat from the bowling of Umar Gul (1-36) with the score on 52.

Aamer made up for his dropped catch by having Michael Hussey (6) caught by debutant wicket keeper Sarfraz Ahmed and Australia were struggling at 3-71.

Earlier the captain had won the toss and chose to bat on a wicket that had some life in it.

Pakistan made four changes, bringing in Sarfraz, Aamer, Shoaib Malik and Khurram Manzoor in place of Kamran Akmal, Mohammad Sami, Misbah-ul-Haq, respectively while Australia brought Simon Katich back from injury.

Australia: Ricky Ponting (captain), Simon Katich, Shane Watson, Michael Hussey, Michael Clarke, Marcus North, Brad Haddin, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Hauritz, Peter Siddle, Doug Bollinger. 12th man: Clint McKay.

Pakistan: Mohammad Yousuf (captain), Salman Butt, Imran Farhat, Khurram Manzoor, Umar Akmal, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed, Mohammad Aamer, Umar Gul, Mohammad Asif, Danish Kaneria. 12th man: Faisal Iqbal.