Sydney, Jan 4 (IANS) Skipper Michael Clarke notched up his maiden double hundred and Ricky Ponting ended his century draught to give Australia a massive 291-run first innings lead, ending the second day’s play at 482 for four in the second Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) here Wednesday.
Clarke was batting on 251 along with Mike Hussey (55) and Australia seemed to have batted India out of the second Test having dismissed them for 191 runs in the first innings.
The 30-year-old Clarke and Ponting, who scored a near-faultless 134, punished the lacklustre bowling and crushed India with their 288-run partnership for the fourth wicket. Clarke and Hussey’s unfinished 157-run stand for the fifth wicket piled on the agony.
Clarke mesmerised the SCG crowd with a repertoire of shots and is now close to getting past England’s Reginald Foster’s 109-year SCG record of 287. Clarke has already surpassed his previous best score of 168 against New Zealand in Wellington in 2010.
Clarke also become just the 13th player to score a double ton at the SCG and surpassed the legendary Don Bradman and Doug Walters to become the highest-scoring Australian at the historic venue.
Clarke hit 24 fours and a six in a memorable knock on the occasion of the 100th Test at the ground.
Australia, resuming at overnight 116 for three, scored 366 runs for the loss of one wicket in the day. In every session, more than 100 runs were scored as they was nothing in the wicket that could have helped the Indian bowlers. Pacers Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma and off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin each conceded more than 100 runs.
Clarke crossed the three-figure mark in the final over of the opening session while the 37-year-old Ponting achieved the 40th century of his 160-match Test career and his sixth at the ground shortly after resumption.
Ponting was finally dismissed for 134, caught by Sachin Tendulkar at point off Ishant with the second new ball, after a 288-run partnership with Clarke that helped Australia recover from 37 for three.
The only time Ponting came close to being dismissed during his 225-ball knock, studded with 14 fours, was when he scampered for a single to get his 100th run off Ishant. Zaheer fielded cleanly but his well-directed throw missed the stumps — had it hit, Ponting would have been more than a half-metre short of his ground.
But the cricketing gods were on Ponting’ side and the former Australian skipper picked himself up after the dive and with his shirt covered in dirt he raised his arms skywards to celebrate one of his most cherished centuries. It was a career-defining innings and will help Ponting retain his position in the Australian team until at least the end of the summer.