Salman Butt’s third century and his first in four years ensured that Ricky Ponting did not enforce the follow on as Pakistan were bowled out for 301. Australia went in to stumps at 59 for 1 at the end of the third day’s play with a healthy lead of 277.
Pakistan were in dire straits when play resumed but, it were the old foes Butt (102) and Malik (58) who put on a 129 run stand for the 5th wicket which gave the Pakistan total some much needed respect.
Malik batted well in his comeback innings and was decisive with his footwork. Salman butt was exquisite with his shots through the offside and seemed to pierce the field at every attempt he made in doing so. Butt did well to reach a hundred, however his captain wasn’t seen cheering his century.
On display were typical “Asian wrists” as the duo flicked their way to lunch unscathed. The Australian bowlers were disciplined but results never seemed to come until Ponting brought on part timer Simon Katich who accounted for Salman butt and Debutant Sarfraz Ahmed within two overs.
Australia looked all set to enforce the follow on when Pakistan were reeling at 248 for 9. However, the last wicker pair of Umar Gul and Mohd. Asif put on a 50 run stand thus putting enough doubt into Ponting’s mind about the follow on. The Australian pacers were far too short to the tail-enders especially with a new cherry in hand.
After the second day’s play Ponting was quite intent on enforcing the follow on. However, the last wicket partnership took its toll on the Australian seamers as they took a 106 Overs to bowl out Pakistan. In spite of the two major partnerships in the day Pakistan’s batting left a lot to be desired.
Pakistan are missing a number 3; Pakistan are missing YOUNIS KHAN. Ponting then decided to have a bat although the weather forecast over the next couple of days isn’t too good; thus ensuring the match will last five days. Australia lost Shane Watson to early in the mix leaving the score at 1 for 1.
A rare flop for Watson who has had a wonderful season with the bat. Ponting (25*) and Katich (33*) batted through to stumps leaving Australia in a commanding position at the start of day4. The surface looks a good one to bat on as shown by the inability of the Australian bowlers to clean up the tail.
Australia must declare with a sizeable lead between Lunch and tea tomorrow if they want to complete a whitewash. They must consider the unpredictability of the Pakistan batting line-up and the trueness of the surface. The fourth day’s play promises to be an intriguing one.
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