Watson And Ponting Lead Australian Fightback
Australia 88 & 136-2 (Ponting 61no) v
Pakistan 258 (Salman Butt 45, Watson 6-33)
Second Test, Headingley, day two
Shane Watson with the ball and Ricky Ponting with the bat led an Australian fightback on day two of the second Test against Pakistan at Headingley.
Watson returned his second five-wicket haul in as many matches as Pakistan were bowled out for 258 replying to Australia's score of 88 and Ponting was unbeaten on 61 as they closed on 136 for two in their second innings having whittled Pakistan's lead down to 34 runs.
Pakistan resumed the day on 148 for three and lost two wickets in a shortened opening session when Umar Akmal edged Mitchell Johnson to Tim Paine for 21 and Umar Amin failed to get his bat out of the way of a short Ben Hilfenhaus delivery and he was caught by Marcus North.
Those wickets came after Akmal was caught off an early no ball and Michael Hussey dropped him in the gulley but he could not take full advantage as Pakistan reached lunch on 218 for five following Amin's dismissal for 25.
The wickets then tumbled as Australia kept themselves within range and it was again Watson, bowling at the perfect pace to get the ball to swing, who reaped the rewards.
His potentially match-turning spell began when he had Kamran Akmal (15) well caught at slip by North and next ball he had Mohammad Amir trapped in front offering no stroke.
He missed the hat-trick but just two runs had been added when Umar Gul was bowled without scoring and an ugly heave from Shoaib Malik as he pushed for quick runs resulted in him skying the ball to Paine for Watson's sixth wicket having dismissed Imran Farhat and Azhar Ali on the opening day.
Pakistan's innings was concluded when Danish Kaneria was run out by Steve Smith having made a punchy 15.
Mohammad Asif was unbeaten on nine and it was his opening partner with the ball, Amir, who struck quickly when Australia batted again.
He had Simon Katich (11) bowled, effectively round his legs, as he shuffled across and missed a delivery homing in on leg stump.
The part-time medium pace of Amin did the trick again for Salman Butt as he induced Watson to play on having made 24 but that was the last success Pakistan enjoyed as captain Ponting and vice-captain Michael Clarke to add 81 runs before an early close due to bad light.
Ponting survived a testing early spell to reach his 12,000th Test run with a four to third man and he added five more during his knock of 61 in 103 balls while Clarke reached 32 with three fours.
Australia lead the series 1-0 after a 150-run success at Lord's.
© Cricket World 2010