Nothing new... Aussies win again

Agence France Presse

Sydney, January 5:

Australia swept to another convincing four-day victory over Pakistan with a nine-wicket win in the final Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Wednesday.

Skipper Ricky Ponting hit the winning boundary off his first delivery after Justin Langer was deceived by a Danish Kaneria wrong’un and was bowled for 34 just four runs short of victory. The Pakistanis had a minor triumph by erasing a 264-run innings deficit to force Australia into a second innings, primarily due to a resolute 87 from Asim Kamal, who was the last wicket to fall in the tourists’ second innings of 325.

Australia required just 9.3 overs to polish off the required runs minutes to deliver them their first win of 2005.

At the finish, Australia were 62 for one with Matthew Hayden not out 23 and Ponting on four.

Pakistan also lost their other two Tests in the series on the fourth day, going down by 491 runs in Perth and by nine wickets in Melbourne.

Shahid Afridi (46) triggered a collapse with a reckless run out to derail Pakistan’s momentum built up by a fighting fifth-wicket stand of 74 runs with Asim. Asim showed the required resolve and joined in a spirited 55-run last-wicket stand with Mohammad Asif to keep Australia’s winning bid on hold for an hour.

Ponting snapped up a spectacular one-handed slips catch to finally end Asim’s innings 10 minutes after tea giving Jason Gillespie his only wicket of the Test.

Asim faced 143 balls in 181 minutes with 15 boundaries.

Warne finished with 4-111 off 26 overs to finish the series with 14 wickets and take his world record wicket tally to 566 in 120 Tests. His spin twin, Stuart MacGill captured 3-83 for match figures of 8-170 on his return to Test cricket after nine months in limbo.

MacGill was later named man-of-the-match ahead of Ponting who scored 207 in the first innings and Adam Gilchrist who changed the course of the match on Tuesday with a spectacular 113 off 120 balls. Pakistan took two quick body blows before lunch with the key dismissals of senior batsmen Yousuf Youhana and Younis Khan off consecutive balls.

The tourists were looking secure with skipper Yousuf and Younis combining in a determined 60-run partnership for the third wicket. But Pakistan’s hopes of building a big enough lead to put the pressure back on Australia in the last innings were dashed when MacGill bowled Yousuf with a big leg-break for 30. Younis followed next ball, giving debutant Shane Watson his first Test wicket when trapped leg before wicket on the crease for 44 in 154 minutes and leaving the Pakistanis wobbling at 164 for four. Pakistan opener Yasir Hameed was out to a dubious lbw decision to Warne for 63.