Melbourne: Australian openers Shane Watson and Simon Katich fell agonisingly short of centuries, but their side was in a commanding position against Pakistan on the first day of the first Test of the series at the MCG here.
Australia were 3-305 at stumps on the first day after Watson and Katich posted a stand of 182 and captain Ricky Ponting proved he had overcome his elbow injury from last week, with 57 from 60 balls.
Mike Hussey finished 37 not out and nightwatchman Nathan Hauritz five not out on a Boxing Day which attracted 59,206 fans.
Watson and Katich looked set to turn their third century partnership in as many matches into a day of personal celebrations, until a terrible misunderstanding cost Watson his wicket in bizarre cicumstances for 93, Fox Sports reports.
Katich fell soon after, for 98, his third dismissal in the 90s this home summer, after 92 in the first Test against West Indies in Brisbane and 99 in the third in Perth.
Chasing his elusive maiden Test hundred, Watson was run out after he and Katich ended up at the striker''s end of the pitch when the stumps were broken at the non-striker's end.
In the second over after tea Katich glided a delivery from Mohammad Asif to backward point, and took a few steps down the pitch before he turned back.
The trouble was Watson kept coming, and both were watching Salman Butt field and had no idea where each other was.
Remarkably, both grounded feet over the line at almost the same time, and the umpires had to call on television replays to determine which batsman grounded his foot first.
Replays showed Katich just made it, although he took a step out of the crease just after the bails came off at the other end.
Watson cut a devastated figure as he trudged off the field, having made 96 in the second Test in Adelaide and 89 in Perth.
Katich soon followed when he hit Asif straight to point and was caught by Butt, after a speedy stand of 51 with Ponting.
Despite their disappointments, the New South Wales pair gave Australia a strong launchpad by batting into the third session, although Katich was dropped - on eight in the gully by Umar Akmal - and Watson was given a life on 43, when Misbah-ul-Haq spilled a sitter at first slip.
Mohammad Aamer and Saeed Ajmal were the unlucky bowlers.
Pakistan''s bowling was accurate early, but the attack was badly let down by the fielders, who conceded too many easy singles by failing to hurry in, or through lazy misfields.
The Katich-Watson stand allowed Ponting to peel off a quick-fire half-century against the tiring Pakistan attack, until he was caught at second slip off Asif''s bowling late in the day against the second new ball.
Ponting was barely hampered by the elbow injury he suffered when struck by West Indies speedster Kemar Roach in Perth, and reached his half-century in 55 balls amid a partnership of 58 from 53 balls with Hussey.
Asif got some swing with the second new ball and ended the day the only successful bowler, with 2-69.