Sydney: Battered into submission would be the best way to describe India's plight at the end of day two of the second Test against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on Wednesday.
Skipper Michael Clarke brought up his maiden double-ton in Test cricket and veteran batsman Ricky Ponting scored his 40th Test century as Australia powered to 482 for 4 at stumps, 291 runs ahead with six first-innings wickets still in hand, after the visitors were bowled out for 191 on the opening day.
Clarke (251*) and Michael Hussey (55*) were the batsmen at the crease at the end of play on the second day.
Carrying on from their overnight score of 116 for 3, the hosts seized the initiative right from the beginning as Clarke and Ponting added 120 in the opening session, with the Aussie skipper bringing up his 18th Test century.
The Indian bowlers led by Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma, bowling in excess of 140 kmph, failed to provide the team with the much needed breakthrough early on. A watchful Ponting then brought up his first century in nearly two years when he nudged a delivery from Ishant to mid-on to complete a quick single; replays however showed that a desperate dive at the end by the batsman would not have been enough had Zaheer's throw been on target.
The former captain's last century came against Pakistan in Hobart in January 2010 when he made 209.
It was all about the Clarke-Ponting show from then on as both batsmen went about their merry ways until Ishant struck with the wicket of Ponting to end the marathon 288-run stand for the fourth wicket.
The 23-year old pacer was finally rewarded for some persistent bowling in the right areas when he had Ponting play uppishly at a delivery outside his off stump, for Sachin Tendulkar to complete a comfortable catch in the cover-point region. The Tasmanian struck 14 boundaries during his 225-ball stay.
The mild celebrations brought about by Ponting’s dismissal were the only moment that belonged to the Indians in an otherwise disastrous session in which 113 runs were conceded. The Australians were at their dominating best after tea, plundering runs at will as Hussey got into the act.
Hussey smashed a six and seven fours during his 97-ball stay while Clarke finished the day with 31 boundaries and a maximum to his name, as the two added 157 runs to end a truly disastrous day in the field for the Indians.