HOBART: Unbeaten centuries from Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke steered Australia to 302-3 on the first day of their final Test against Pakistan here today.
Pakistan started well in the final Test of the three-match series, pegging Australia back to 80-3 at lunch. But having been dropped when still on nought, Ponting ended the day on 137 to hit only his second Test century on his home ground at Bellerive Oval. The Aussie skipper ended a run of shaky form to put on an unbroken 231 in 69.4 overs with Clarke.
Australia have an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series, but things looked promising for the tourists in the opening session when, having lost the toss, they claimed the wickets of Simon Katich, Shane Watson and Mike Hussey.
Katich (11) was the first to go, departing in the seventh over after being adjudged leg before wicket to Mohammad Asif. Ponting should have followed without scoring when he was also tempted into a hook shot by Asif and skied the ball straight to Mohammad Aamer who spilled the catch at fine leg.
The visitors made some amends with the dismissal of Watson (29) when he cut Umar Gul straight to Imran Farhat at gully, and Australia were under even more pressure when Aamer had Hussey (six) caught behind by Test debutant Sarfraz Ahmed.
But Ponting then dispelled all criticism about his form as he took centre stage with Clarke. His 39th Test century arrived in 159 balls with 13 fours with Clarke ably partnering him, reaching his 13th Test ton from 188 balls to end the day unbeaten on 111.