India strike late as Australia pile up runs

Ricky Ponting celebrates his 40th ton during day two of the second Test against India Getty Images

Sydney: Jan 4, 2012

Captain Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting struck sparkling centuries with a big run stand between them against an ineffective Indian bowling attack as Australia seized control of the second cricket Test on the second day on Wednesday.

The Indians were sent on a leatherhunt since morning and they could grab just one wicket in the second session after going wicketless in the first as Australia raced to 349 for four at tea in reply to India’s first innings 191 all out.

Australia, who are leading the four-match Test series 1-0 after winning at the MCG by 122 runs, now lead by 158 runs with six first innings wickets intact.

Clarke was batting on 170 while Mike Hussey was giving him company at the break on eight on a placid SCG pitch.

The second new-ball finally gave India the breakthrough they had looked for all day long with Ponting (134) departed to Ishant Sharma, tamely gliding a catch to Sachin Tendulkar at point.

But that was not before he had put on record 288 runs for the fourth wicket with Clarke. The previous fourth wicket record in Tests between India and Australia also belonged to the pair of Ponting and Clarke who had put on 210 runs in Adelaide during the 2007-08 series.

It took Ponting, unbeaten on 97 at lunch, almost 17 minutes and eight balls to reach his milestone. It did not arrive without its moment of anxiety as he pushed Ishant to mid-on and took off almost immediately.

He was still a fair distance away from the safety of his crease when Zaheer Khan at mid-on fielded the ball and took a shy at the non-striker’s stumps. Fortunately it did not hit the stumps and Ponting had to dive full stretch to reach his crease.(PTI)

Brief Scores: India 191 (MS Dhoni 57*, Sachin Tendulkar 41, Virender Sehwag 30; James Pattinson 4 for 43, Peter Siddle 3 for 55) trail Australia 349 for 4 (Michael Clarke 170*, Ricky Ponting 134; Zaheer Khan 3 for 68, Ishant Sharma 1 for 82) by 158 runs.

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