Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke's centuries took Australia to 302 for three on the first day of the final Test against Pakistan, on Thursday. Ponting's welcome return to form saw him remain unbeaten on 137. He put on an unbroken 231-run partnership with Clarke, with the latter unbeaten on 111.
Pakistan's fielding lapses cost the side again. Ponting was dropped by Mohammad Aamer before the batsman had scored. Soon after, the skipper overcame a scratchy few overs to score his runs with more confidence. The pull's menace returned, and the cover-drive regained its authority. The captain's 39th Test century contained 17 fours.
Clarke consumed 223 balls for his 111, and offered the visiting side no chances. The quick-footed Clarke was splendid against Danish Kaneria, and equally comfortable driving and cutting the pacemen. His innings comprised 11 boundaries.
Pakistan had failed to capitalise on the start provided by its fast bowlers. Simon Katich departed leg-before, after which Shane Watson wasted a reprieve when he cut Umar Gul to Imran Farhat at gully. Mike Hussey's departure left Australia at 71 for three, but poor catching and defensive fields let the visiting side down again.
Australia -- 1st innings: S. Watson c Farhat b Gul 29, S. Katich lbw b Asif 11, R. Ponting (batting) 137, M. Hussey c Ahmed b Aamer 6, M. Clarke (batting) 111; Extras (lb-1, w-4, nb-3) 8: Total (three wickets; 90 overs) 302.
Fall of wickets1-28 (Katich), 2-52 (Watson), 3-71 (Hussey).
Pakistan bowling: Asif 25-6-68-1, Aamer 18-4-50-1, Gul 16-2-68-1, Kaneria 26-2-93-0, Malik 5-0-22-0.