Record day for elegant Clarke
SYDNEY – Michael Clarke hit a brilliant unbeaten 251 and Ricky Ponting his first hundred in two years as Australia took control of the second Test against India yesterday, finishing the second day on an imposing 482 for four.
Clarke batted through the day for his first Test double century and the highest score by an Australian at the Sydney Cricket Ground, while Michael Hussey pitched in with 55 not out to give Australia a lead of 291 over India’s first innings 191.
Ponting had departed just before tea for 134 to end the fourth-wicket partnership with Clarke at 288, a record for Australia in Tests against India and a potentially match-winning effort from a pair who came together with the score on 37 for three and resumed from 116-3 overnight.
“It’s fantastic to have a score like I do but if you don’t win the Test match it means nothing,” Clarke told reporters.
The 30-year-old reached his 18th Test century, and the first of the series from either side, in the last over of the morning by slapping a Zaheer Khan delivery through the covers.
Ponting, who last scored a Test century against Pakistan in Hobart in January 2010, matched his successor as captain almost run-for-run throughout the session but endured a nervous wait on 97 through the lunch break.
Three overs into the afternoon, however, the 37-year-old reached his 40th Test century with a rushed single off the bowling of Ishant Sharma that could have cost him his wicket.
It was undoubtedly Clarke’s day, though. He reached his landmark double after 365 minutes, 284 balls and counted 24 fours and a single six. He celebrated wildly, running around the pitch swinging his bat in the air.
Later, an authoritative cover drive saw him pass Doug Walters’ previous Australian record at the ground of 242. (Reuters)