Ponting passes 13,000 runs as Aussies take charge against India in Adelaide
Ricky Ponting became the third man in history to accumulate 13,000 Test runs as Australia charged into a commanding position at stumps on day one of the fourth Test against India at the Adelaide Oval.
Captain Michael Clarke (140no) and his predecessor Ponting (137no) came together with the score at 84 for three shortly before lunch and went on to share a record-breaking unbeaten 252-run stand for the fourth-wicket to guide Australia to 335 for three at the close of play in scorching conditions.
It was the duo's second double-hundred stand of the series after their 288-run union during the second Test in Sydney when Clarke notched a memorable triple ton.
Landmark: Ricky Ponting has now accumulated 13,000 Test runs
Ponting – who joins Indian pair Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid on his latest landmark – powered to his 41st Test century after coming in with his side in a spot of bother at 31 for two after 10 overs.
The crowd rose to its feet when Ponting worked Zaheer Khan behind square for a couple but the faithful were quickly subdued when the signal for leg byes was realised, the ball clearly deflecting off the batsman's thigh pad.
The very next ball Ponting received a standing ovation and raised his arms triumphantly after he pushed Zaheer between point and gully for two to bring up his second hundred of the series, this dig far more fluent than his determined, gutsy knock at the SCG.
Crowd pleaser: Ponting
With the ton – which arrived off 164 balls and included 11 boundaries – Ponting drew level with South African compatriot Jacques Kallis in second place for all-time most Test centuries, behind only India's Sachin Tendulkar (51).
Amazingly, it was Ponting's fourth
ton in as many Tests against India at the ground – all coming in the
first innings – and sixth overall at this ground.
has enjoyed a similar success rate, his magnificent ton his second in
as many stints at the Adelaide crease against India.
Four overs after Ponting saluted, Clarke caressed Umesh Yadav to the third man boundary to register his 19th Test ton.
removed his helmet and kissed the crest as the crowd rose once more to
celebrate an innings that was even more aggressive and impressive than
It was Clarke's fifth century in 12 Tests since taking over as skipper and fifth overall against India.
The 30-year-old's wonderful, momentum-shifting century came off just 133 balls and including 14 fours and a big six.
That six came on just the second ball
after tea when Clarke, making his intentions clear, charged India's
acting skipper Virender Sehwag – who surprisingly bowled himself
immediately after the break – and thumped him over the long straight
the imperious Clarke were rarely troubled in perfect batting conditions
under hot, sunny skies against a listless Indian outfit.
Leading by example: Skipper Michael Clarke celebrates by kissing his helmet
pitch, which was a belter and further flattened throughout the day, did
not assist the tourists' cause, but they didn't help themselves either
with a general lack of energy and intensity, inattentive fielding,
defensive field placings and some pedestrian bowling.
Sharma (nought for 50) bowled better than his figures suggested. He was
unlucky at times and asked plenty of probing questions of the in-form
pair, bowling some of his best spells of the summer.
paceman almost achieved the belated breakthrough in the 86th over when,
with the second new ball, he captured Clarke's outside edge which flew
to VVS Laxman's right, the veteran grassing a very tough chance.
next over Clarke tentatively edged Zaheer just short of a diving
Wriddhiman Saha as his concentration wavered, albeit fleetingly.
The only other time the visitors really perked up was the final over before tea.
Sehwag introduced Virat Kohli for a one-off over to bowl some gentle medium pacers in a hope to break the damaging partnership.
Dream team: Ponting (left) and Clarke
Clarke was untroubled seeing off the part-timer before drama unfolded on the penultimate ball of the middle session.
Clarke turned Kohli to the on-side for a sharp single when Zaheer had a shy at the non-striker's end from square leg.
The ball ricocheted off the sliding bat of the Aussie skipper, who infuriated the Indians by running two more as a result of the deflection.
appealed for Clarke to be given out obstructing the field, arguing he
had deliberately deviated in an attempt to divert Zaheer's throw but
after umpires Kumar Dharmasena and Aleem Dar conferred with third umpire
Paul Reiffel, Clarke was rightly allowed to bat on.
Take that: Clarke prepares to smash one
Earlier, Australia lost two wickets inside the first 10 overs before
losing another one shortly before lunch to momentarily give India the
upper hand after Clarke had won the toss and elected to bat in hot, dry
Warner (eight) and Shaun Marsh (three) were sent packing early as Sehwag
surprised by introducing off-spinner Ashwin in the fourth over of the
Ed Cowan made
30 before falling to an excellent catch from Laxman at cover which
created some murmurs in the home camp as Ashwin picked up two wickets
before lunch, but Ponting and Clarke destroyed the wilting Indians and
will look to continue the carnage on Wednesday.