Adelaide: Centuries from Ricky Ponting and Australian skipper Michael Clarke nailed India as the hosts reached 335 for the loss of three wickets at the close of day one of the fourth Test match on Tuesday.
Former Australian captain Ponting scored his 41st Test century after completing 13,000 Test runs, becoming just the third batsmen after Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid to reach the landmark. Ponting has now scored a century in all three of the Test he has played against India in Adelaide, including 242 in a losing cause in 2003.
Resuming from 214 from 3 at tea, Australia continued to pound India. Ponting and Clarke inevitably reached their centuries - for the second time in the series - and runs came by even easier than they had post-lunch. The Indian bowlers were going through the motions, and it wasn't helped by the defensive tactics by captain Virender Sehwag.
Earlier in the second session, Australia had been on the back foot after losing three wickets. But Ponting and Clarke grabbed the upper hand as they added 116 runs. Both looked in good nick from the start, displaying excellent foot movement to negate any seam or spin in a flat Adelaide track.
Clarke had a lucky escape on 39 when an outer edge off the bowling of Ishant Sharma went between wicketkeeper and second slip; surprisingly a first slip was missing. India's pace bowlers tried everything they could but the Australian duo completely dominated them throughout the last two sessions. Umesh Yadav had a day to forget as he was smashed all over the park by the Australian batsmen, conceding 87 from 12 overs.
It was a sorry predicament for India after they had made an encouraging start despite losing the toss. With good batting conditions expected, it was no surprise to see Clarke bat first, but the guile of R Ashwin saw the hosts go to lunch on 98 for 3.
Ashwin was introduced as early as the fourth over by stand-in captain Sehwag and the offspinner did not disappoint. Two maiden overs quickly unsettled David Warner, who was trapped lbw by Zaheer Khan soon after. Ashwin then outfoxed an out-of-form Shaun Marsh, bowling him through the gate with the one that goes straight on, before luring Ed Cowan into a fateful drive shortly before lunch. Cowan had been the mainstay throughout the first session, quietly accumulating on his way to 30 before he was well caught by VVS Laxman at short extra cover.
The hosts are gunning for a series whitewash, having taken a 3-0 lead in the series so far.