Monday 20 November 2017

Cricket: Clarke's historic triple ton leaves India on rack

Nigel Whittaker

Australia captain Michael Clarke made history at the SCG to leave India fighting to avoid defeat in the second Test. India reached 114-2 in their second innings at stumps on a day dominated by Clarke's unbeaten 329.

After achieving the highest score in the SCG's 100-Test history, Clarke declared at 659-4 midway through the second session.

Mike Hussey offered his skipper terrific support, scoring an unbeaten 150 to supplement Ricky Ponting's 134.

The tourists, after scoring just 191 in their first innings, trail by 354 runs, with Gautam Gambhir (68 not out) and a watchful Sachin Tendulkar (8 not out) set to resume.

But they can consider themselves fortunate to still be there. Tendulkar narrowly avoided being bowled off an inside edge on seven while wicketkeeper Brad Haddin inexcusably fumbled a thick edge from Gambhir on 66 from James Pattinson's bowling.

The Indians' planned fightback began disastrously when Virender Sehwag slashed at a short and wide delivery from Ben Hilfenhaus (2-37). That brought Rahul Dravid to the crease and he got off the mark with a classy flick to the boundary in front of mid-wicket. But on 29, Hilfenhaus produced a sublime off-cutter to pass through the narrowest of gates and hit Dravid's stumps.

It left India 100-2 as Tendulkar made his way to the middle of the SCG for the last time to cheers from 31,644 fans.

Earlier, Clarke smashed a host of new records with a brilliant innings, while Hussey batted superbly at the other end. The pair added 334 runs to leave the deflated tourists staring down the barrel of a second consecutive defeat on Australian soil.

In all, the hosts added 622 runs for the loss of one wicket after Clarke and Ponting were united at 37-3 late on day one.

After breaking through for his maiden double century on day two, run-hungry Clarke picked up where he left off when play resumed. His epic knock lasted 617 minutes, 468 balls and included 39 fours and a six.

Irish Independent

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