Australia grill India on Day 1 at Adelaide
A bright morning gave way to another dreary day in the field for India as Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke hit brisk centuries to take Australia to 335/3 at Stumps on Day 1 of the fourth Test being played at Adelaide.
Ponting and Clarke added 281 runs for the fourth wicket over the two latter sessions of the day after coming together before Lunch. Doing so they wrested the advantage back from India who had them at 84/3 four overs from Lunch.
Winning the toss and choosing to bat first, Michael Clarke wouldn’t have expected stand-in skipper Virender Sehwag’s tactic of bringing R Ashwin into play in the fourth over of the match. His introduction kept the normally attacking David Warner quiet. Royal Challengers Bangalore spearhead Zaheer Khan cashed in, cramping Warner before getting him LBW for 8, leaving Australia 26/1.
The out of form Shaun Marsh was the next to go, playing a straight one from Ashwin for the spin only to be bowled. He went for 3 and Australia were 31/2 in 10 overs. Ed Cowan and Ricky Ponting rebuilt the innings from there till Cowan’s dismissal, a casual cover drive off Ashwin which he hit on the rise and which Laxman dived low to take brilliantly. Cowan made 31 and his dismissal left Australia at 84/3 with four overs to go for Lunch.
Ricky Ponting was decisive when he started, leaving alone Ishant Sharma who was bowling a good line but he chose to go after Umesh Yadav, taking runs off the youngster to boost the score.
Clarke and Ponting raced off the blocks after Lunch, taking at least a boundary off each over, forcing Sehwag to spread the field. The batsmen had their reprieves, Clarke edging one through a vacant first slip where a second slip was present instead.
India’s bowling took a familiar course after that. The batsmen dead batted the good deliveries but they hardly had to wait for any poor ones. Ricky Ponting notched up his 13,000th run in Tests, the third man to do so after Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid.
Clarke took a liking to the offspin of both Ashwin and Sehwag, accelerating to move from the 50s to the 80s in the time it took Ponting to move from the 80s to his second ton of the summer.
The centuries arrived after Tea, Ponting’s ton came off 165 balls, Clarke brought up his ton four overs later off 133 balls. By Stumps, the duo had added 251 runs in an unbeaten partnership for the 4th wicket, 37 short of their 288 run partnership earlier in the series at Sydney.
Things only got worse for India after that partnership in Sydney, their bowlers will try to make sure that doesn’t happen again at Adelaide.