Feroz Khan/Zeenews Sports
Adelaide: On a track exhibiting sub continental features, the pair of Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting guided the Australian total to 604/7 after completing double centuries apiece. In response, the Indian team, more familiar with the conditions than their opposition, was expected to come out loud but instead, it was a repeat of the past three Tests in the series.
By the close of play, India were 56/2 with Sachin Tendulkar (12*) and Gautam Gambhir (30*) holding the fort on Day 2 of the Adelaide Test on Wednesday, trailing by 543 runs.
It was an excellent exhibition of batting from the Australians even though the bulk of their scoring was done by two batsmen.
Punter and Pup run amuck
The second over of the day from Ishant Sharma was a signal to the tired Indian fielders that life wasn’t going to be easy for them on the second day as well. The over was milked for 11 runs and those that followed weren’t different either, though, not so expensive but the boundaries came easy and by the third over of the day, Clarke had reached 150 with Ponting following suit three overs later. An indication of how briskly and effortlessly the runs were flowing on a batting friendly track, was the run rate that swelled to over five in the first seven overs of the morning.
Even though it was Clarke who was the more aggressive of the two, it was the ‘vintage’ Ponting who stole the show with his most potent of strokes-pulls and straight drives. In his brilliant knock of 220 runs, Ponting dominated the Indian bowling attack comprehensively, driving and pulling at will, receiving full support from the sloppy fielding and directionless bowling. He struck 21 boundaries and completed his second double century against India and sixth overall and his record stand of 386 runs with captain Michael Clarke took Australian score to 470 runs in quick time.
Michael Clarke who has been a revelation since taking charge of the Australian side, struck a double century following the triple century at Sydney in the second Test. His innings of 210 (26X4, 1X6) came at an impressive strike rate of 76.
Some respite for Indian bowlers
Indian bowling that was lacking any direction and strategy in the first session, suddenly came alight after lunch as they managed to pick four wickets in the second session including the wicket of Ponting and Clarke.
Yadav removed Clarke with a length delivery that moved in after pitching to clip the bails.
Next to go was Michael Hussey who was run out as a result of some brilliant fielding at silly point. Gambhir stretched out to hold a Hussey shot and immediately threw it back for a direct hit on the stumps. Hussey, who was already out of his crease, couldn’t make in time and thus had to leave after scoring 25 runs.
Zaheer Khan then pitched one short which Ponting pulled towards deep mid wicket where Tendulkar pouched a good catch to put an end to his marathon innings. Ashwin then removed Peter Siddle and after that Brad Haddin and Ryan Harris ensured no further damage to the Australian innings as they took the score past 600 runs with their captain declaring the innings immediately after tea break.
Stuttering Indian innings
Gautam Gambhir dispatched the first delivery of the Indian innings towards point for a boundary to provide a positive start. However, Sehwag was dropped in the next over by Cowan but the stand-in captain failed to capitalise on the chance and walked back to the pavilion to a soft dismissal off Peter Siddle.
Rahul Dravid’s form continued to elude him on this tour as for the ninth time in eleven innings-- the man known for his stout defenses-- was bowled leaving India at 31/2 with 14 overs still to go. His wicket brought Sachin Tendulkar to the crease amid a thunderous applause as the master took guard looking to provide stability to the Indian innings that looked to falter on a track tailor-made for batting.
The way Australian bowlers got their wickets clearly indicated they had a plan that was missing in the Indian camp. The pair of Gambhir and Tendulkar successfully managed to see through the remaining overs of the day.