Perth: Australia tightened the screws on Pakistan as Ricky Ponting and Justin Langer both completed centuries before lunch on the second day of the third cricket test at the Waca today.
Ponting reached a career high of 130 and Langer 112 after the two Australians shared in a record unbroken partnership of 237 to lift Australia to 291 for four in their first innings in reply to Pakistan's modest total of 155.
While Pakistan's batsmen failed to handle the unique bounce of the Waca, Langer and Ponting thrived on the extra pace. They started the second day at 171-4, just 16 in front of the Pakistanis, and added 120 without loss in the session to take Australia to a commanding lead of 136 with six wickets in hand as they attempt to complete a 3-0 clean sweep of the series.
Ponting was the more aggressive of the pair, belting 18 fours as he posted his highest score in test cricket, bettering his previous best of 127 against England on the 1997 Ashes tour. Langer was content to play a more restrained role, although he still managed 14 boundaries as the Pakistani pacemen repeatedly fell into the trap of bowling too short, allowing the two Australians to hook and pull at will on a lightening-fast outfield.
Ponting began the day on 62 with Langer on 63. They matched each other virtually run for run until Ponting surged clear of his teammate in the late 80s. Their partnership easily broke the previous best fifth-wicket stand by an Australian pair against Pakistan and left them just 42 runs shy of the all-time Australian partnership against Pakistan.