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Ricky Ponting leads Australia recovery against Pakistan

Second Test, Headingley, (day two, close): Pakistan 258 v Australia 88 & 136-2
Live commentary on Test Match Special and Radio Five Sports Extra, scorecards on BBC website, live on Sky Sports

Australia skipper Ricky Ponting
Ponting played a battling captain's innings to bring Australia back into the match

Ricky Ponting became only the second batsman to pass 12,000 Test runs as Australia fought back on day two of the final Test with Pakistan at Headingley.

Pakistan resumed 60 runs ahead at 148-3 but seamer Shane Watson took a career- best 6-33 to dismiss them for 258.

Australia, trailing by 170, lost both openers but Ponting hit an unbeaten 61, his 52nd Test fifty, to follow Sachin Tendulkar in reaching 12,000 runs.

Australia finished the day 34 behind at 136-2 in their second innings.

Ponting and Michael Clarke (32) shared 81 before bad light ended proceedings.

After his highly criticised decision to bat first and his team's opening day dismissal for 88, Ponting needed something special to protect his team's 1-0 series lead.

Pakistan, without a Test victory against Australia for 15 years, appeared to be completely in command but as Ponting began to look far more comfortable their confidence appeared to fade, and with three days remaining the match is delightfully poised.

The opening session was delayed by 45 minutes because of rain but Pakistan were still able to add 70 for the loss of two wickets, Mitchell Johnson's first over costing 11 runs.

Umar Akmal was dropped in the gully by Mike Hussey from the second ball of the day and was also caught off a no-ball before he edged to keeper Tim Paine for 21 in the fifth over of the day.

Left-hander Amin, in only his second Test, struck a glorious drive to the boundary but departed in unfortunate fashion on 25 when he ducked a Ben Hilfenhaus bouncer but left the bat in the air like a periscope, the ball flicked off it and spooned to square-leg.

Hussey also dropped Kamran Akmal in the gully but Watson continued to offer the ball maximum opportunity to swing and was rewarded with two wickets in two balls in the first over after lunch.

Away swing induced an edge from Kamran that was well caught low at first slip, while left-hander Mohammad Aamer offered no shot and was given out lbw by Rudi Koertzen, although replays suggested the ball would not have come back enough to hit the stumps.

Watson, who took five wickets in the first innings in the first Test at Lord's, struck again in his next over when Umar Gul got an inside edge onto the timbers and his next saw Malik top edge an attempted pull.

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There was a spirited final wicket stand of 24 which ended in comical fashion when Steve Smith ran in and threw down the stumps, beating Danish Kaneria's sprawling dive.

The Pakistan spinner was urged to get to his feet by partner Mohammad Asif for the overthrow and hurled himself in at the other end but the third umpire ruled he had been dismissed the first time.

The Pakistan bowlers were not as devastating as they had been in the first innings and the ball did not swing with anything like the same effect.

However, the deficit was still 115 with both openers dismissed, Simon Katich moving too far across his stumps and bowled by left-armer Aamer - the first time he has failed to make fifty in 10 Test matches - and Watson getting a bottom edge onto his stumps.

Ponting might well have been lbw first ball after padding up to Mohammad Aamer, and the next delivery produced another vehement lbw appeal although replays showed the ball had pitched outside leg stump.

He was soon displaying some classical strokes, however, and should the partnership with Clarke develop much further, his team will be contemplating a most remarkable triumph.



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