Ponting sets Test victory record

MELBOURNE: Australia thrashed Pakistan by 170 runs in the first Test here today to take skipper Ricky Ponting past predecessor Steve Waugh.

Ponting became the most successful captain in Test history as victory here gave him a record 42nd win as skipper. Nathan Hauritz claimed his maiden five-wicket haul to guide Australia home on the final day. Mitchell Johnson struck twice in the first over before Hauritz took three wickets to dismiss Pakistan for 251.

Ponting’s 42 wins came from 65 matches as captain, but the 35-year-old Tasmanian downplayed the achievement, preferring to concentrate on the future rather than look back at the past.

Shane Watson was named man of the match for his 93 in the first innings and unbeaten 120 — his maiden Test century — in the second, while Johnson’s three second-innings victims mean he finishes 2009 with 63 Test wickets.

Johnson and Hauritz each grabbed two wickets in two balls as Australia dominated the morning session. Pakistan resumed their second innings on 170-3 and Johnson dismissed 19-year-old Umar Akmal for 27 just four balls into the day’s play before removing Misbah-ul-Haq next ball, both caught by keeper Brad Haddin.

Pakistan made slow progress from that point

before Hauritz struck

twice in two balls. Kamran Akmal (30) was the spinner’s first victim of the day

when Haddin claimed the stumping as the batsman advanced down the pitch, and next ball Mohammad Aamer was surprised by the bounce and gloved to Simon Katich at short leg.

Abdur Rauf (five) managed to survive the hat-trick ball but he was soon bowled by Doug Bollinger. The visitors survived to lunch but Hauritz wrapped things up in the second over after the restart. Pakistan captain Mohammad Yousuf (61) was caught by Simon Katich at short leg and Saeed Ajmal (10) was caught at mid-wicket by Shane Watson to usher Ponting to the top of the all-time Test captaincy records.