Ricky Ponting, searching for an elusive century to save his Test career, led an Australian fightback on the second day of the first Test against New Zealand at the Gabba yesterday.
Australia's Ricky Ponting pulls one en route his unbeaten 67 on Day
Two of the first Test against New Zealand at the Gabba in Brisbane
Ponting, without a century in his previous 28 Test innings and under pressure to keep his place, had a few close shaves to have Australia in reasonable shape at 154 for three in reply to New Zealand's 295 at stumps.
The former skipper, whose last big innings of 209 against Pakistan in Hobart was almost two years ago, was unbeaten on 67 with his successor Michael Clarke not out 28.
Ponting narrowly avoided being run out before he had scored when Brendon McCullum's throw just missed the stumps at the non-striker's end and he also survived a video referee's referral for lbw on 63. Ponting, who turns 37 later this month, unfurled some of his classic drives and pulls among his 11 boundaries to look back in scoring nick.
"Ricky's one of the legends of the game," Australian off-spinner Nathan Lyon said. "We all have confidence in him and we're going to back him up right to the end of the day. He's awesome, so hopefully he can go on and get a big one tomorrow."
Ponting and Clarke's unbroken 63-run stand rescued the home side after the loss of David Warner (3), Phil Hughes (10) and Usman Khawaja (38) for 91 runs. Earlier, NZ added 119 runs for their last five wickets to an overnight 176 for five.