India under pressure as wickets fall

Jan 25, 2012, 13:09 IST | AFP

Double centuries by Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting and another shaky start by India's stuttering batsman left the visitors under pressure in the fourth Test in Adelaide on Wednesday.

Skipper Clarke declared for the second time in the one-sided series -- this time at 604 for seven -- and then saw his bowlers claim two early scalps as the dazed tourists failed to close out the second day with their wickets intact.

India, desperate for a solid reply to the host's massive total, were 61 for two at stumps in reply with Sachin Tendulkar, chasing his elusive 100th international century, unbeaten on 12 and Gautam Gambhir 30 not out.

Clarke hit 210 and Ponting 221 in an Australian innings that had the beleaguered Indians toiling in the field under a hot sun for 10 and a half hours.

They then grabbed the key wickets of under-fire opener Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid in the 21 overs to stumps to have the tourists reeling with three days left and a mountain to climb to avoid a 4-0 series defeat.

Sehwag, captaining India in place of the suspended M.S. Dhoni, again fell cheaply after meeting the first ball of Peter Siddle's opening over with a leading edge back to the grateful bowler for 18.

The normally prolific batsman, who averages over 50 in Tests, has scored just 136 runs at 19.42 in the Australia series.

Dravid, Test cricket's second all-time leading run-getter, was bowled for the sixth time in the series, this time off Ben Hilfenhaus.

Earlier Clarke called a halt to Australia's run onslaught midway through the final session after Ryan Harris clouted Umesh Yadav for six.

Clarke and Ponting shared in Australia's fourth-highest ever partnership of 386 -- the top three stands all featured the great Don Bradman.

The stand also eclipsed the highest overall partnership at the Adelaide Oval of 341 made by South Africans Eddie Barlow and Graeme Pollock in 1964.

Clarke, who scored an unbeaten 329 in the Sydney Test, was out on the third ball after lunch bowled by Yadav ending his 380-minute and 275-ball vigil with 26 fours and one six.

So far in this series Clarke has amassed 589 runs at 147.25 with Ponting following up his 134 in Sydney to have 484 runs at 96.80.

India had a few other successes in the middle session, removing Ponting short of his highest score of 242 at Adelaide when he was caught in the deep by Sachin Tendulkar off Zaheer Khan.

The former Test skipper was at the crease for 516 minutes and faced 404 balls with 21 fours for his sixth Test double-century.

Mike Hussey was run out by a slick piece of close-in fielding by Gambhir for 25 and Siddle became wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha's first catch in Test cricket off Ravi Ashwin for two.

Brad Haddin (42) and Harris (35) remained not out at the time of the declaration.

The Indians are facing a 4-0 series wipeout in the final Test after heavy losses in the opening three Tests.

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