We knew we could win, claims Ponting

Australia 127 & 381 Pakistan 333 & 139 (Australia win by 36 runs)

Maybe there's life in the old dog yet. 2009 was not great for Australia – no year in which the Ashes are surrendered can be – but 2010 got off to the most thrilling of beginnings yesterday when they bowled out Pakistan for just 139 to seal a narrow triumph and victory in the series.

Few gave the hosts any hope of victory before this fourth day, but their jubilant captain Ricky Ponting says his side never lost hope they could overturn three days of Pakistan dominance. Given their recent history at the SCG – they have enjoyed tight wins over India and South Africa in the past two seasons – you can understand why. "I don't think anyone else in the world other than probably all the blokes inside our room thought we could win," he said.

"The other [recent SCG Tests] we've probably been in positions where we probably should have won the games. So this one, turning up today 80 runs ahead, I think all of us in our changing room felt that if we could get 150 we were going to be right in the game. Where it ended up today was a sort of a difficult number I think for Pakistan to look at and try to chase."

Pakistan needed 176 for victory. Ponting added: "Those sort of totals are always hard to chase but what Huss and Sids [Michael Hussey and Peter Siddle, who put on 123 for the ninth wicket] did today and what the bowlers did and probably more importantly today what the fielders did ... those little things like that can be the difference between winning and losing."

Ponting conceded the furore surrounding his decision to bat first on a green SCG wicket on the opening day had taken a toll on the entire team. Although he could see the lighter side of his contentious decision after pulling off the unlikely triumph, the home captain stood by his brave call before admitting he is unlikely to ever choose to bowl first in a Test match again. "It's been a pretty tough few days not only for me but the team," Ponting said.

"What we've read over the last couple of days and what we've seen and heard on the news probably just steeled us all a little bit and just made us want to fight the game out as much as we can and prove that we're never out of the contest."

Shell-shocked Pakistan captain Mohammad Yousuf (19) accepted the blame for his side's disappointing second innings before conceding his side's lack of Test experience was a major factor.

Yousuf said that his dismissal was the final day's pivotal moment. "I think they batted very well in the second innings, and my shot this afternoon was very pathetic and it turned the game that shot," he said, referring to an aggressive drive he returned caught and bowled to Nathan Hauritz just after tea. "I think otherwise we would have won the game, not easily but we [would] have won.

"We have to be professional, we have to perform... we need to take the pressure, especially me. I'm a very experienced player, while they're [his team-mates] all young."

The three-match series will now shift to Hobart on 14 January with Australia holding an unassailable 2-0 advantage.

Greatest Tests: Other fine comebacks

England v Australia (Headingley, July 1981)

England were quoted at odds of 500-1 to win after the visitors had raced to a first-innings lead of 227. With the hosts on 135 for 7, Ian Botham hit 149 from 148 balls before Bob Willis took 8 for 43 to send Australia tumbling to defeat.

West Indies v England (Trinidad, Mar 94)

Led by Angus Fraser and Chris Lewis with four wickets apiece, England restricted the hosts to 252 in their first innings. By the time England came to bat a second time they required just 194 to win – but were skittled for 46.

West Indies v Australia (Barbados, March 1999)

Having conceded a first-innings lead of 161, West Indies looked doomed. Enter Courtney Walsh, who took 5 for 39 to skittle the Aussies before Brian Lara hit 153 not out to secure a barely credible one-wicket win.

India v Australia (Calcutta, March 2001)

A Steve Waugh ton helped the Aussies to 445 before they bowled the hosts out for 171. Following on, India hit 657 for 7 before they declared to leave Australia 384 to win. Harbhajan Singh took 6 for 73 as Australia were bowled out for 212, losing by 171 runs.

Sydney scoreboard

Australia v Pakistan

Sydney (Fourth day of five); Australia beat Pakistan by 36 runs; Australia won toss

Australia: First Innings 127 (M Asif 6-41).

Pakistan: First Innings 333 (Butt 71, Farhat 53; Bollinger 4-72).

Australia: Second Innings Overnight: 286-8 (Watson 97)

M Hussey not out 134

P Siddle c ul-Haq b Asif 38

D Bollinger b Kaneria 0

Extras (b 6, lb 5, w 3, nb 5) 19

Total (125.4 overs) 381

Fall: 1-105, 2-144, 3-159, 4-217, 5-226, 6-246, 7-252, 8-257, 9-380, 10-381.

Bowling: M Asif 27-8-53-2, M Sami 19.5-4-74-0, U Gul 28-4-83-3, D Kaneria 47.5-3-151-5, I Farhat 3-0-9-0.

Pakistan: Second Innings

I Farhat c Johnson b Bollinger 22

S Butt c Haddin b Johnson 21

F Iqbal c Haddin b Johnson 7

*M Yousuf c & b Hauritz 19

U Akmal c Johnson b Bollinger 49

M ul-Haq c Hussey b Hauritz 0

†K Akmal c Haddin b Johnson 11

M Sami c Haddin b Hauritz 2

U Gul c Siddle b Hauritz 6

D Kaneria c Watson b Hauritz 0

M Asif not out 0

Extras (w 1, nb 1) 2

Total (38 overs) 139

Fall: 1-34, 2-50, 3-51, 4-77, 5-77, 6-103, 7-133, 8-133, 9-135, 10-139.

Bowling: D Bollinger 12-3-32-2, P Siddle 4-1-27-0, N Hauritz 12-1-53-5, M Johnson 10-2-27-3.

Umpires: E A R de Silva (SL) & B R Doctrove (WI).

More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete tomorrow
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
Life and Style
It is believed that historically rising rates of alcohol consumption have contributed to the increase
food + drink
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Piers Morgan tells Scots they might not have to suffer living on the same island as him if they vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence
peopleBroadcaster has a new role bringing 'the big stories that matter' to US
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
Life and Style
Moves to regulate e-cigarettes and similar products as medicines come amid increasing evidence of their effectiveness
healthHuge anti-smoking campaign kicks off on Wednesday
Life and Style
fashionEveryone, apparently
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Arts and Entertainment
A new Banksy entitled 'Art Buff' has appeared in Folkestone, Kent
Arts and Entertainment
Shia LaBeouf is one of Brad Pitt's favourite actors in the world ever, apparently
filmsAn 'eccentric' choice, certainly
Life and Style
An Internet security expert has warned that voice recognition technology needs to be more secure
techExperts warn hackers could control our homes or spend our money simply by speaking
peopleBenjamin Netanyahu trolled by group promoting two-state solution
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style