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Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Ponting & Clarke tear Indian attack to shreds T2D2

Australia 4/482 (116 ov, Clarke 251*, Ponting 134, Hussey 55*, Zaheer Khan 3/106) lead India 191 by 291 runs with 6 first innings wickets in hand: T2/4 D2/5 at SCG.

Test cricket days don't come much more one sided than this one (though South Africa v Sri Lanka T3 D1 overnight at Cape Town isn't far behind) . Australia lost 1/366: the one being Ricky Ponting who moved steadily, apart from an enforced pause on 97 at lunch, to his century and beyond. The bare facts of his innings -134/225b (14x4) - should be enough to silence those who've been calling for his sacking for not registering a ton for two years. The manner in which he made his runs reiterated his class and showed that he still has more to give Australian Test cricket on the playing field.

Yet in the context of the match Michael Clarke's innings was even more significant: 251*/342b (1x6, 31x4) to date. After Ponting was out at 325, caught at point off one of his few false strokes, Clarke kept the pressure on the Indian bowlers, who were unable to keep him and Mike Hussey in check as they motored on, adding 157 so far. Hussey was, as the situation required, brisk from the outset, reaching 55/97b (1x6, 7x4) by stumps.
Clarke's innings was imperious: he was dropped once, well after he'd passed three figures, when Ishant Sharma couldn't hold a hard return catch, but otherwise he played impeccably, stroking the loose and some not so loose balls hard, and all around the ground. Check out his  wagon wheel .

The less said about the Indian bowling the better. Yes, conditions didn't favour (or appear to favour) them as much as they did the Australians on D1, and they generally stuck to their task, but they were collectively and individually unable to trouble the batters more than intermittently, with long intervals in between good, as opposed to steady, balls.

Tomorrow, weather permitting, Australia should  bat India out of the Test.Today the initial focus was on  Ponting, tomorrow it will be on Clarke.

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