Sydney Test: Clarke, Ponting put Australia in command

Biswajit Jha/

Sydney: Australian captain Michael Clarke and former captain Ricky Ponting slammed double century and a century, respectively on Wednesday to put Australia on top on Day 2 of the Sydney Test.

Scorecard: India Vs Australia»

When stumps were finally drawn for the day, Australia were 482/4, leading by 291 runs with six wickets and three entire days to spare. Michael Clarke remained unbeaten on 251 while Hussey was playing on 55 at stumps on Day 2.

If Ponting’s ton was a declaration that he has not passed use-by dates, Clarke’s double ton is a testimony to the fact that Australian captaincy is in right person’s hands.

They put together a marathon 288-run partnership for the fourth wicket. The duo of captain and former captain toyed with the Indian bowling. They plundered runs at will. Their domination can be gauged by the fact that in the last 12 overs before the lunch, they even scored more than 6 runs per over. Their partnership virtually sealed the match in Australia’s favour.

Clarke never looked to be in trouble throughout the entire day he batted. He played all around the ground, moved his feet nicely and did not lose a single opportunity to score runs. He was particularly severe on the spinners, especially on the struggling off-spinner R Ashwin.

Australian captain slammed his maiden double ton to lead his team to a commanding position while Ponting broke the draught of century by hitting a fine ton after almost two years. Ponting’s 40th ton came after his century at Bellerive Oval against Pakistan in January 2010.

The third highest run-getter in Tests needed 150 balls to reach the milestone and to prove his detractors wrong that he is far from finished as a Test cricketer.

Ishant Sharma gave India their first breakthrough of the day when he dismissed Ricky Ponting for 134.

Ponting’s fine innings of 134 came to an end when the batsman sliced one ball from Ishant straight to Sachin Tendulkar at point. Ponting’s 225-ball innings consisted of 14 hits to the fence.

Ponting’s departure brought an end to an emphatic 288-run fourth wicket stand between him and Michael Clarke.

After Ponting departure, Mike Hussey joined Clarke in the middle. But the wicket did not change the fortunes of the Indians who were found chasing the leather throughout the entire day. Hussey and Clarke put together an unbeaten 157-run stand to end a wretched day for the Team India.

Hussey also looked to be ominous touch. His footwork was impeccable from the word go. He drove some through the cover regions which were real treat to the eyes.

Indian bowlers, on the other hand, never looked to be in wicket-taking mood. The body language of the whole Indian team was pathetic.

There were no efforts to pump up the bowling unit which was hammered all over the park. Only Zaheer Khan looked like a bowler who could take wickets though he was not at his best. Ishant bowled well in patches. Though he bowled with a lot of speed his line and length did not allow him to take more than a wicket in the whole day.

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