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Ponting misses out as Aussies close in

Ricky Ponting just missed out on another Test century but Australia are edging towards a 3-0 series victory over Pakistan.
Ricky Ponting just missed out on another Test century but Australia are edging towards a 3-0 series victory over Pakistan.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Australia close in on a series whitewash against Pakistan after the fourth day of the third Test
  • Pakistan end the day on 103-4, chasing an unlikely target of 438 to secure victory
  • Ricky Ponting fails to become only the seventh man in history to score a double century and a century in the same match

(CNN) -- Australian captain Ricky Ponting narrowly missed out on a slice of history as his side closed in on a series whitewash against Pakistan in the third Test at Hobart.

After the hosts resumed on 59 for one with an overall lead of 277, Simon Katich made his first Test century of the summer -- while Ponting fell just short of becoming only the seventh man in Test history to score a double century and a century in the same match when he was dismissed for 89.

Shane Watson then took two for 24, including Pakistan captain Mohammad Yousuf, as the tourists, chasing 438 but realistically needing to bat out almost five sessions to save a draw, slumped to 103-4 before rain offered a reprieve.

Ponting fell just after lunch after being given out on referral after he gloved a ball down leg side while trying to sweep off-spinner Shoaib Malik, with the declaration coming soon after.

He thus missed out on joining compatriots Doug Walters and Greg Chappell, West Indians Laurence Rowe and Brian Lara, India's Sunil Gavaskar and former England captain Graham Gooch in reaching the double milestone.

Katich's century, which came off 137 balls and included 13 fours, capped off a fine match after he took three for 34 on day three.

The Australian pair went after the Pakistan bowling from the outset in a bid to build a lead of 450-plus as soon as possible and give the team maximum time to bowl Pakistan out for a second time on what has been an ideal batting wicket throughout.

But there were signs on day four of a few balls keeping low, with Ponting being surprised by one from young paceman Mohammad Aamer in only the seventh over of the morning.

And Ponting also survived a referred caught-behind decision by Pakistan as he reached for a delivery from Aamer when on 62.

Pakistan slumped to 67 for three by tea after openers Salman Butt and Imran Farhat fell early on and Yousuf lost out on a referral as he was adjudged lbw to Shane Watson for 23.

It was Doug Bollinger who struck the initial breakthrough when he dismissed Butt for just eight with a delivery that kept slightly low and bowled the left-hander between his bat and pad in just the fifth over.

Then it was Peter Siddle's turn when he claimed Farhat for 14 five overs later with a delivery that squared him up and caught the edge, giving keeper Brad Haddin a sharp catch low down.

But Watson claimed the most important scalp when he trapped Yousuf plumb in front, with the Pakistan captain wasting one of his team's two unsuccessful referrals by challenging the decision.

And the other was lost when all-rounder Watson struck again in the evening session to trap the dangerous Umar Akmal lbw for 15, the youngster caught on the crease to give third umpire Billy Doctrove no grounds to overturn the call.

Khurram Manzoor remained 23 not out, having played the anchor role for 86 deliveries after arriving at the crease following Butt's exit, with former captain Shoaib Malik unbeaten on 18 at the other end as Pakistan hoped the forecast of further rain on day five would come to their rescue.

Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan and fast bowler Shahadat Hossain claimed four wickets apiece as India's famed batting line-up crumbled on the opening day of the first Test in Chittagong.

Openers Virender Sehwag (52) and Gautam Gambhir (23) had given India a solid start with a 79-run stand for the first wicket, but India lost their way as Shakib and Shahadat took center stage.

Sachin Tendulkar took India past the 200-run mark with a battling 76 not out and India had reached 213 for eight when bad light ended play prematurely. Ishant Sharma was at the other end on one.