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Ponting periscope bemuses teammates and rivals

Ricky Ponting has been under the microscope for much of the past 18 months but it's a "periscope" which denied him a chance to escape further scrutiny.

If the third Test proves to be the 37-year-old's international swansong then he has at least saved his most bizarre dismissal for last.

Ponting was denied the chance to have a crack at a career-saving century by a mode of dismissal commonly referred to in cricket circles as a "periscope".

The former captain left his bat in the air as he ducked a bouncer from his Windies nemesis Kemar Roach only to be caught after the ball hit the back of his blade.

It was the fifth time in as many matches he has lost his wicket to Roach, though never in such unusual circumstances.


"Unbelievable, I guess if you play cricket long enough you are going to be dismissed every which way," said Australia's Test opener Ed Cowan.

"After 165 Test matches I guess he was due for a periscope.

"I feel sorry for the bloke because he has been batting beautifully and again it will be give ammunition to some bloody journalist back home ammunition to lampoon, but you guys have seen how well he is playing in tough conditions - but what a bizarre dismissal.

"But I guess you can only shrug your shoulders and say that's the game."

The Windies were equally surprised by the manner of Ponting's departure.

"It's the first time I've been on the field to see it happen, what happened to Ricky today," West Indies No.6 batsman Narsingh Deonarine said.

"It was a short ball by Kemar but the ball never got that high. Unfortunate for Ricky but good for us."

Ponting's wicket was one of three which fell in the final hour, handing the Windies hope of limiting Australia to a manageable final-innings run chase on Thursday and Friday.

The Australians, who will begin the fourth day 310 ahead, believe they already have enough runs on the board to defend though an overnight declaration is unlikely, even for a captain as aggressive as Michael Clarke.

Australia will aim to bat through the morning session, when they feel batting is at its easiest, with the view of setting a target in the vicinity of 360.

"Whether that's overnight moisture, whatever that might be, under the cover, the first two hours have been decent batting conditions and then throughout the day we've seen the last two hours have been an absolute dust bowl," Cowan said.

Since making an imposing 449 in the first innings of the series, the Windies have failed to pass 260 in each of their three attempts since.

(Concerned batsmen can't put up big scores?)

"It's not a concern. There are very talented young batters in the team, it's just a matter of clicking at the right time," said Deonarine.

"We need a big team batting effort to get past Australia's second innings total."