Australia were threatening to inflict another heartbreaking defeat on Pakistan after they fought back valiantly on the second day of the second Test at Headingley.
Pakistan, without a Test win over Australia in 15 years, had looked in pole position after skittling the Antipodeans for just 88 on Wednesday, but career-best figures of six for 33 from Shane Watson and a defiant unbeaten 61 from Ricky Ponting began to turn the tide of the game Australia's way.
After bowling Pakistan out for 258 mid-way through the day, Australia were 136 for two when bad light forced a premature end - meaning they trailed by just 34 runs.
That seemed the most unlikely of scenarios even at lunch on Friday when Pakistan had forged a 130-run lead with five wickets still in hand. But a devastating spell from Watson, who claimed four for seven in 13 balls just after the lunch break, broke open the game as the all-rounder claimed his second five-wicket haul in successive games after he also achieved the feat in the 150-run win at Lord's last week.
Ponting then defiantly set about erasing the deficit, and along the way became just the second batsman to reach 12,000 Test runs and, amazingly, the first batsmen to score 50 in a match that hardly looks like going beyond a third day.
By stumps Ponting had put on an unbeaten 81 for the third wicket with his vice-captain Michael Clarke (32 not out) as their stand served to revive memories of their stunning Test win over Pakistan in Sydney in January. In that game Australia recovered from being bowled out for 127 in their first innings, and then conceding a 206-run first innings lead, to win by 36 runs on a stunning final day.
After taking a 170-run first-innings lead Pakistan had begun well with the ball, removing Simon Katich for just 11 when he was bowled around his legs by Mohammad Aamer. They could have had Ponting, who had not passed 50 in his previous six Test innings, early as well as he survived two good shouts for lbw from the first two balls he faced from Aamer.
With tea in sight Shane Watson chopped an innocuous Umar Amin delivery onto his stumps when he was on 24, prompting the right-hander to throw back his head in frustration. But after tea Ponting and Clarke looked immovable as they set about erasing the deficit without alarm.
Earlier, Watson had come to Australia's rescue with the ball after their front-line bowlers again failed to fire. Pakistan had added 70 in a morning session delayed for 45 minutes by overnight rain, with only the loss of Umar Akmal and Amin to Mitchell Johnson (one for 71) and Ben Hilfenhaus (two for 77) respectively.
But Watson ripped through the lower order in the afternoon session, claiming Kamran Akmal and Aamer in successive balls and also removing Umar Gul and Shoaib Malik. Last pair Danish Kaneria and Mohammad Asif then quickly added 24 runs before a comical mix-up ended with Steven Smith running out the former at the non-striker's end.