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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Clarke, Ponting flay India with double tons

Clarke, Ponting flay India with double tons

Last updated on: January 25, 2012 14:25 IST

Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke hit masterful double centuries to drive Australia to 604 for 7 declared before their bowlers reduced India to 61 for 2 at the end of the second day in the fourth Test, in Adelaide, on Wednesday.

- Scorecard | Images

Sachin Tendulkar, 12 not out, and Gautam Gambhir, on 30, were at the crease at stumps, after the in-form Australia pace attack dismissed stand-in India captain Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid.

Clarke, who scored 210, and his predecessor as Australia captain, Ponting, who scored 221, batted through the morning session for a record fourth-wicket stand of 386 at a sweltering Adelaide Oval.

They were separated two balls after lunch, when Clarke was bowled by Umesh Yadav. 

Three more wickets fell before tea as the Australian batsmen went for their shots on a good batting wicket.

Perhaps mindful that England declared on 551-6 at the Adelaide Oval in 2006 and still lost the Test, Clarke waited until the scored passed 600 after seven overs in the final session before calling time on Australia's first innings.

Pacer Peter Siddle struck with the first ball of his first over, dismissing Sehwag, caught and bowled, for 18 after the opener got the bottom of his bat onto a full toss.

Dravid was bowled for the sixth time in seven innings in the series in the next over, deceived by a Ben Hilfenhaus delivery that struck the Indian on his elbow and hit the stumps.

Ricky PontingAlready 0-3 down in the series after three heavy defeats, India had laboured in the field as Clarke and Ponting ruthlessly, and often stylishly, drove home their advantage.

Resuming at 335-3, they passed their own record partnership for Australia against India of 288, which they set in the Sydney Test, inside the first hour.

The next mark to fall was the all-time record partnership for the Adelaide Oval, which came when they exceeded the 341 that Eddie Barlow and Graeme Pollock shared in 1964.

Clarke brought up his second double century of the series after his unbeaten 329 in the Sydney Test just before lunch with two runs through mid-wicket, celebrating with his ritual kiss of the insignia on his helmet.

The 30-year-old took 361 minutes and 255 balls to reach the milestone with another imperious display, which included 25 fours and one six.

QUICKFIRE

Ponting was not far behind but forced to wait nervously over the lunch break for his second double century against India at Adelaide, after the 242 he hit in a losing cause in 2003-04.

The sixth double century of his career finally came courtesy a trademark pull to midwicket for his 21st four in the 459-minute, 357-ball innings and the celebration left no doubt what it meant to the Tasmanian.

Clarke had already departed after being bowled between bat and pad by pacer Umesh Yadav, the first wicket to fall in more than three full sessions.

The stand was two runs short of the Australian record for a fourth-wicket partnership set by Donald Bradman and Bill Ponsford, when they scored 388 at Headingly in 1934.

Mike Hussey, who had waited six hours and 20 minutes to bat, scored a quickfire 25 from 33 balls before a brilliant Gambhir throw ran him out.

Ponting followed soon afterwards when another pull off Zaheer Khan found a leaping Tendulkar on the mid-wicket boundary.

Spinner Ravi Ashwin's carrom ball accounted for Peter Siddle (2) to give wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha, standing in for banned India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, his first Test catch.

Brad Haddin, who hit a six to open his account, had scored 42 not out and shared a 71-run partnership with Ryan Harris (35 not out) when Clarke called them back to the dressing room.

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