Ponting ends poor run as Pakistan pay for early drop

Australia 302-3 v Pakistan
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The Independent Online

The Australia captain Ricky Ponting has promised to continue playing the hook shot, even though it almost proved his undoing on a day when he registered only his second Test century at his home ground and brought to an end his run of modest scores.

The Tasmanian was dropped on nought after hooking Mohammad Asif to Mohammad Aamer at fine leg off the fourth ball he faced on day one of the third Test against Pakistan. Aamer did not even have to move but somehow dropped a catch that looked straightforward, and Ponting made the most of the let-off, ending the day unbeaten on 137 with Australia in a commanding position at 302 for 3.

Ponting's century ended a lean spell for the 35-year-old, who came into the match having scored just 217 runs at an average of 26 in the Australian summer. But the captain admitted it could have been very different had Aamer held on to the catch. "I was thinking about having a long day in the changing rooms with not much to do and what paper I was going to read," Ponting said, when asked his thoughts at seeing his hook sail high to Aamer.

Ponting was peppered by short balls from Pakistan but has no plans to abandon the hook shot that has served him so well in his career. "It's always been one of the shots I have naturally played," he said. "Pup [vice-captain Michael Clarke] asked me tonight, 'have you thought about not playing it?', but I can't because it's just an instinctive thing."

Ponting has instead vowed simply to play the hook better, saying his early problems were caused by his technique rather than his shot selection.

"Today I struggled with it [the hook shot] early on because I wasn't watching the ball closely enough," he explained. "But the longer I was out there I started to play it better."

Bellerive scoreboard

Third Test Hobart (First day of five); Australia have scored 302 runs for three wickets; Australia won toss

Australia: First Innings

Runs/6s/4s/Bls

S R Watson, c Farhat b Gul 29/0/5/52

S M Katich, lbw b Asif 11/0/1/16

*R T Ponting, not out 137/0/17/240

M E K Hussey, c Ahmed b Aamer/6/0/1/12

M J Clarke, not out 111/0/11/223

Extras (lb 1, w 4, nb 3)/8

Total (3 wkts, 90 overs) 302

Fall: 1-28, 2-52, 3-71.

To bat: M J North, †B J Haddin, M G Johnson, N M Hauritz, P M Siddle, D E Bollinger.

Bowling: M Asif 25-6-68-1, M Aamer 18-4-50-1, U Gul 16-2-68-1, D Kaneria 26-2-93-0, S Malik 5-0-22-0.

Pakistan: Imran Farhat, Salman Butt, Khurram Manzoor, *Mohammad Yousuf, Umar Akmal, Shoaib Malik, †Sarfraz Ahmed, Mohammad Aamer, Umar Gul, Danish Kaneria, Mohammad Asif.

Umpires: E A R de Silva (S Lanka) & R E Koertzen (SA).

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