Ponting, Clarke tons as Australia plunder India

Resurgent Ricky Ponting posted his 41st Test century and skipper Michael Clarke his second ton of the series as Australia plundered India in the final Adelaide Test on Tuesday.

Ponting passed 13,000 Test runs with his second hundred in three innings while Clarke raised his 19th Test ton following his unbeaten triple century in Sydney.


The experienced pair shared in a ground record fourth wicket partnership to have the tourists on the rack as relentless Australia sought to ram home a 4-0 series whitewash.

India, who relinquished their top Test ranking when they were crushed 4-0 in England last year, face their eighth consecutive away defeat if they cannot prevent another Australian victory this week.

Ponting and Clarke combined in another domineering partnership with an unbroken 251 runs after their 288 stand in the second Sydney Test over the New Year and batted through the last two sessions.

At the close on a sweltering opening day, Australia after winning the toss were 335 for three with Ponting unbeaten on 137 off 254 balls and Clarke 140 off 188 balls.

To underline the gulf between the two sides, Australia's batsmen have compiled six centuries while India have still to register one.

Ponting is only the third player to register 13,000 career Test runs behind Indians Sachin Tendulkar (15,432) and Rahul Dravid (13,262).

India, looking to restore some pride after drubbings in the first three Tests, were thwarted again by Ponting and Clarke on a typical high-scoring flat Adelaide batting strip.

Adelaide is a happy hunting ground for former skipper Ponting, who has now scored six of his 41 Test hundreds in the City of Churches including a knock of 242.

Clarke, who scored an unbeaten 329 in the second Sydney Test earlier this gave two chances on 50 and one on 133, both off Ishant Sharma.

The tourists claimed the wickets of David Warner (8) and Shaun Marsh (3) cheaply in the opening 10 overs and Ed Cowan (30) nearing lunch.

Warner, who smashed a 69-ball century on the way to a swashbuckling 180 in the third Perth Test win, only lasted 23 balls before he was trapped leg before wicket by Zaheer Khan.

He was followed by the imperilled Marsh, who again fell cheaply, lasting only 12 balls when he was bowled by a straightened delivery from off-spinner Ravi Ashwin.

Marsh did nothing to dispel doubts over his Test career with just 17 runs in five innings in the series batting at number three.

Cowan looked to have done all the hard work in his 110 minutes consolidation at the crease before he was caught low down in the covers by Laxman for Ashwin's second wicket 10 minutes before lunch.

Stand-in skipper Virender Sehwag was proactive with his bowling changes in the morning session, wheeling in Ashwin in the fourth over of the innings and was rewarded with Marsh's wicket in Ashwin's fourth over.

Sehwag also bowled his offbreaks in tandem with Ashwin in the first session of the Test before he was guilty of allowing the game to drift.

The opening batsman was deputising for skipper M.S. Dhoni, who was suspended from the third Perth Test for slow over rates.

Scoreboard at stumps on the opening day of the fourth and final Test between Australia and India at the Adelaide Oval on Tuesday:

Australia 1st innings

E. Cowan c Laxman b Ashwin 30

D. Warner lbw b Khan 8

S. Marsh b Ashwin 3

R. Ponting not out 137

M. Clarke not out 140

Extras (lb11, w6) 17

Total (3 wickets for, 90 overs) 335

Fall of wickets: 1-26 (Warner), 2-31 (Marsh), 3-84 (Cowan)

Bowling: Khan 18-2-52-1 (1w), Yadav 12-0-87-0 (5w), Ashwin 26-4-81-2, Sharma 20-5-52-0, Sehwag 13-0-49-0, Kohli 1-0-3-0

India: Virender Sehwag (capt), Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, V.V.S. Laxman, Virat Kohli, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravi Ashwin, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav.

Toss: Australia

Crowd; 21,480

Umpires: Aleem Dar (PAK), Kumar Dharmasena (SRI)

Video umpire: Simon Fry (AUS)

Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle (SRI)

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