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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

India lose two wickets chasing huge Australian total underpinned by Ponting & Clarke double centuries: T4D2

India 2/61 (21 ov) trail Australia 7/604 dec (157ov, Ponting 221, Clarke 210, Haddin 42*, Ashwin 3/194) by 543 runs om first innings with 8 wickets in hand: T4/4 D2/5 at Adelaide Oval.

Another hot - almost 36 degree - day in Adelaide saw Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting continue from where they left off yesterday.  Both posted double centuries and both batted through to lunch, adding 134 from 30 overs. It came as a surprise to those who were back in their seats after lunch (I was but many other spectators weren't) when Clarke was bowled by Umesh Yadav from the first ball he faced after the interval. It was also surprising to see Yadav bowl such a good ball, which moved back sharply to clip off stump. Clarke and Ponting had added 386 for the 4th wicket from 94.4 overs, of which the captain's share was 210/275b (1x6, 26x4). an innings of great fluency and quality strokeplay with only one, very difficult, chance offered late yesterday.

Ponting, as yesterday, was more measured, though by no means stodgy. He  drove well and continued to play that pull shot which defines his style, though a combination of defensive field placings and a slower than usual outfield at the Adelaide Oval (though not as slow as on the first day) meant that he didn't always get full value for his strokes.He was dropped twice, the first time at 186, but batted on adding 50 with a positive  Mike Hussey, who was sharply run out by Gautam Gambhir stepping out of his crease. Then he played a lofted pull off Zaheer Khan and was well caught on the boundary by Sachin Tendulkar for a memorable 221/404b (21x4).

For further evidence of Clarke and Ponting's  class check out their wagon wheels .

Peter Siddle fell cheaply but Brad Haddin 42* and Ryan Harris 35* added  a breezy unbroken 71, taking the score beyonfd 600, at which point Clarke declared.

So far India have batted positively against some variable Australian bowling but have lost two good wickets - Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid - cheaply. Tendulkar and Gambhir are still there, but it's a huge ask to expect them and the rest of their team mates to avoid the follow on, let alone approach Australia's first innings total.

The weather is unlikely to save India as more heat is forecast for the coming days. Only a massive batting recovery operation will secure a draw. Only a miracle will secure a win.

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