Match report: Aus v Ind – 4th Test, Day 1
Adelaide, Jan 24: Australia have put India on the back-foot on the opening day of the fourth and final Test match between the two sides thanks to an unbeaten 251-run stand between Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke. The two Australian middle-order batsmen struck their respective centuries during the course of their exciting partnership which saw the hosts end Day 1 at 335 for the loss of three wickets.
India came into this Test match led by Virender Sehwag, with Wriddhiman Saha replacing the suspended MS Dhoni in the side. The only other change in the Indian side was offspinner R Ashwin replacing pacer R Vinay Kumar who was part of India’s four-man pace attack at Perth. Michael Clarke won the toss and opted to bat first on what is known to be a batsman’s paradise.
It was a good start by India as Zaheer Khan trapped the dangerous David Warner (8) lbw with the Australian score at 26. Ashwin then removed an out of form Shaun Marsh (3) in just the 10th over, following it up with the wicket of Ed Cowan (30) shortly before the first session drew to a close. The hosts, subsequently, went in to lunch at 98 for the loss of three wickets.
However, Australia dominated proceedings after the lunch interval right until the end of day. Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke, riding on their form in this series, batted with ease and punished the Indian bowlers who were often guilty of bowling a wayward line. Both batsmen brought up their respective half-centuries off 69 deliveries as the Australian total went past the 200-run mark. Ponting even reached the 13000 Test-run mark in the second session which saw Australia score 116 runs in just 29 overs.
Resuming from 214 for three after tea, Ponting brought up his 41st Test century in the 64th over of the innings, cutting a Zaheer Khan delivery through the gap between point and gully for a boundary. Clarke followed in Ponting’s footsteps a few overs later smacking Umesh Yadav for consecutive fours to reach his second century of this Test series.
Australia went past 300 in the 77th over with Ponting and Clarke looking totally in control. Virender Sehwag put off taking the new ball until the 86th over, but when he did, Ishant Sharma produced an edge from Clarke’s bat only for VVS Laxman to drop a difficult chance at slip.
The Australians eventually finished the day at a healthy 335 for three with Ponting (137*) and Clarke (140*) looking good to dominate on Day 2.
At end of Day 1: Australia 1st innings 335/3 in 90.0 overs (Ricky Ponting 137*, Michael Clarke 140*, R Ashwin 2/81)