Australia stamp their authority by amassing a 291-run lead thanks to a comeback century from Ponting and an unbeaten 251 from captain Michael Clarke

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Right, do join us at 5 AM (IST) tomorrow for action from the third day. Goodbye!

Today will be known for two things - Ponting's comeback being complete with a century, and Clarke first Test double hundred. Clarke is set to go on to the magical 300 mark tomorrow.

So with a lead of 291 with 6 wickets in hand, there is no possibility of an Indian bowling miracle tomorrow. In the unlikely event that an Australian batting collapse is triggered, India is still looking at a mountain to climb in terms of the first innings deficit. Once again, the game will come down to the Indian batsmen playing for time and survival. Only this time, their possibility of surviving is near impossible because we still have a good 3 days of cricket left.

The Indian bowling lacked teeth and purpose, and the entire team looked gutted on the field when Ponting and Clarke got going. There was no talk on the field, either in terms of encouragement, or trash talk to the batsmen. A sign that the Indians accepted their fate and just went along.

It was Australia all the way, literally all day long. They are now poised for what could be a massive innings win, thanks to Ponting's timely century and Clarke, who is still batting on 251. Just methodically destroyed any Indian aspirations with their 288-run partnership.

12:03: Play ends and a nightamarish day for the Indians comes to an end. Australia are 482/4 with a lead of 291.

12:00: Clarke gets his 250. This is a seriously compact innings. He has not looked trouble at any stage.

11:48: 3 overs remain in the day. It wasn't an evenly contested day by any means, but the utter domination by Australia makes for inspired viewing.

Australia up by 268 so it's now a question of when Australia will choose to declare. I'd say perhaps with a lead of 400, which should be achieved by Lunch tomorrow. Unless Zaheer Khan and co come all guns blazing tomorrow morning.

11:33: Hussey brings up his fifty to pile on the agony.

11:14: Some other news. Australian domestic legend Brad Hodge has told 'The Age' that he is no longer interested in playing for Australia after being consistently ignored despite big performances in domestic cricket. He will continue to play freelance T20 leagues.

Australia lead streches to 225 and our prediction should come true. A lead of 250 or 250+ by the end of the day.

11:05: 16 overs left in the day but Clarke and Hussey showing no signs of respite. The 'new ball' is now 20 overs old, and is now therefore an 'old ball'.

10:49: Clarke gets his 200! His first 200 in Tests, well past his previous best of 168. Comes off 284 balls and he has changed the course of this match completely. Australia went from a possible collapse at 37/3 to a position of immense strength thanks to Clarke, and his partnership with Ponting.

10:40: Another milestone coming up, it's Michael Clarke's 200. He's reaches 190 with another drive through cover for four. Full ball, but Clarke stays back and hits it on the up. There is a sweeper, but the ball races square. What Clarke wants, he will do.

10:37: Hussey not in his usual strong form either, quite like Ponting's situation before this series. Hussey has got 2 fifties in the last 10 innings. He's on 22 now so a good opportunity to get a big one, with nothing from the pitch for the bowlers.

10:29: Massive appeal for a caught behind but Hussey survives. Zaheer keeps it full and Hussey drives. Ball goes to Dhoni and everyone instantly appeals, but the umpire says no. Replays show the ball missed the edge and the sound came from the bat hitting the ground.

10:17: Sharp caught and bowled chance goes down. Clarke drives stright and hard, ball comes to Ishant Sharma at speed on his follow-through. Gets both hands to it, but the ball pops through. Clarke survives on 182.

10:17: Some exquisite backfoot play from Clarke. Rocks back and guides the ball through point and cover. Strong on the frontfoot too, not much margin for error for the bowlers.

10:15: Australia are 171 ahead and India will do well to spark a collapse and restrict the lead to 250.

10:10: We're back with Michael Hussey and Michael Clarke at the crease.

09:51: There you go, it's Tea. Clarke and Ponting have ground the Indians to dust. Ponting is gone but the Indians still staring at a huge first innings deficit.

09:43: Yadav bowls the last before Tea, but Clarke is more than up to it.

A massive 288 runs put on for the fourth wicket between Clarke and Ponting. Effectively took India out of the game, though they were in with a real chance when these two got together at 37/3.

09:28: Ponting gone! Ishant strikes. Short of length, outside off, Ponting climbs on his back foot and drives. Ball goes straight to Sachin at point and he holds on comfortably. None of the Indians showing too much emotion, they know the damage is done. Ponting leaves for a magnificent 134. His Test career is surely safe now.

India need to strike, now. This is their best chance to do some damage. Wait did I say damage? I meant damage control.

09:24: Clarke safely plays out the first over with the new ball from Zaheer.

09:20: Here's the new ball. Zaheer will have the first go.

09:17: Still persisting with Ashwin and Sehwag, though the new ball is available now.

Sorry Ujwal my calculation was wrong. 80 overs are up, and the new ball is now due.

09:10: 150 up for Clarke. No big celebration. Just a walk in the park.

Fair point Ujwal, the new ball is due in 15 overs. Zaheer and Umesh can have a real go then. Would help if at least one of these two batsmen is dismissed by then. Would make things much easier for the Indians.

Ujwal Deole keeps the faith -

'Few more overs and the new ball will be available. May be Indian pacers can make use of it and pull it back with a few wickets! Possible but not probable!'

08:57: Cannot even blame injury for the failures in this series, as people did for the England debacle. This is a full strength Indian team here, barring injury to Praveen Kumar and a few other bowlers.

08:53: VIrat Kohli has completed his 8th over, just to give you an idea about how desperate India are to get a breakthrough from somewhere.

08:40: Ashwin going around the wicket to manufacture something. Something, anything.

Partnership now worth 248 runs, and it has come at run rate of 4.2. The Indians on the field look lost. Running on empty.

08:22: Clarke carts Ashwin for six! Tossed up, Clarke runs down and heaves it over long-on. The misery continues for India.

08:10: When do you think Australia will declare? It looks the one likely way this innings will end. 57 overs left today with the lead at 66. They could easily get a lead of 300 by end of day's play today. And the Australians could declare first thing tomorrow to really rub their dominance in the faces of the Indians. We're just in the second day so there is absolutely no hurry yet.

Ponting's last century came in January 2010 against Pakistan. A long wait and unimaginable pressure comes to end, and how.

Even the new ball is not due for a long time. 23 overs to go. No respite for India unless they pull something out the hat.

07:59: Ponting gets his century! Quick single, almost run-out, but dives in and makes it. Wipes the dirt off his shirt and celebrates. 40th Test 100, what a moment after all the troubles he has gone through.

07:51: Camera pans to Rahul Dravid as Ponting approaches the 100. It was Dravid who backed Ponting to score runs when everyone was calling for Ponting's head. Well, Dravid did say he did not want Ponting to score against India though. Didn't quite pan out that way.

What a comeback this has been from Ponting. Fitting reply to all the people (ex-cricketers, administrators and fans) who wrote him off. Just 1 short of a 100.

Over ends so Ponting will have to wait.

07:48: Ponting moves to 99 now, we're back after Lunch

We'll be back at 7.35 (IST) when play resumes!

And the Indians, well. Shoddy bowling today from all concerned, just didn't seem to have the heart for a fight. Total damage control is what it is. Dhoni will definitely continue with his tactic of keeping the fielders on the fence after Lunch, so it's going to be long day for the team. 'Cold, lonely Australian summer', says my mate Brian Hyland.

Can you believe this session? 120 runs in 27 overs, with no wickets lost. Australia have grabbed this match by the scruff of the neck. It's like they came out with a point to prove, and completely destroyed the Indians. No telling where the Australians (with Clarke and Ponting) can go from here. Perhaps even aim for an innings victory. Clarke brings up his 18th Test century just before Lunch like a boss, and Ponting on the verge of a Godfather like comeback to good form.

And that's Lunch! Australia in complete control. They finish the first session on 236/3, a lead of 45.

07:03: Ponting on 97, but Clarke is on strike with 2 balls to go before Lunch. Ponting will have to wait, I don't think he cares.

07:01: You bet they can! Clarke is the first to reach the 100 with an authentic cover drive off Ishant Sharma. Last over before lunch and Clarke is happy, raises his bat and punches the air! Great knock from the captain, completely removed India out of contention.

07:00: Here's the only question the Australians have been posed today - Can Ponting and clarke get their centuries before lunch?

06:53: Clarke and Ponting just toying with the bowling now. Dhoni has just 4 men in the circle, and the batsmen are under no pressure whatsoever.

06:50: Clarke you beast! Zaheer around the wicket, length outside off, Clarke comes forward with confidence and rips a cover drive through mid-off and cover for four. He screams out a 'Yesssssssss!!!' after the shot, but there's no need to run. Moves on to 97.

Couldn't agree more Mathew. But the difference in the quality of bowling is quite apparent. The Indian bowlers are just not there. Running in, bowling, almost like a chore.

'Mathew Zacharias has advice for the Indian batsmen -

I hope the Indian batsmen are getting a lesson in how to bat when the ball is moving around. Past achievements don't help in that situation, but true grit does.'

And Australia moving at a hectic rate as well. Run rate at 4.4. So Australia on top in every respect. They could reach even close to 450 by the end of the day today, and we're only in the 2nd day! India looking at a long, long 4 days of Test cricket (including today).

06:43: And how about Clarke? He has moved to 90 and looks set for his 18th century in Tests.

What a turnaround for Ponting. Before this series, there was huge talk about his place in the team thanks to a woeful run of form. Everyone had an opinion, everyone spoke on why Ponting should gracefully retire. And now he has three 50s on the trot, poised to convert the third 50 into a 100 soon.

06:40: Ponting in top form. He is playing it easy now. Indians need a miracle ball to break this run.

06:31: Both Clarke and Ponting in the 80s now. Can they get a century before lunch?

06:23: And this partnership just goes on and on.. 150 runs now and the Indians looking in deep strife.

Lead cut to just 27. Dhoni spreads the field and the singles now available.

06:01: Ashwin comes in for the first time. Ponting and Clarke move on to 69 and 60 respectively. Nothing in the pitch for India.

05:42: Lead comes down to 50.

05:37: Clarke and Ponting going along merrily, completely untroubled by Ishant Sharma and Zaheer Khan. Partnership moves to a massive 104 runs.

05:20: Australia just 62 behind now, and they are going at 4.2 runs per over. This could all go very wrong for India quickly if they do not pick up a few wickets right now.

05:18: Stroked through cover and Ponting gets his fifty as well. 5o in 74 balls and this is his third consecutive 50. Ponting is back, and he looks good for a big one here.

And the honours on the first day went to one man - James Pattinson, who took 4 wickets. This man can do no wrong. 24 wickets in just 4 Tests and he has tasted heady success already. Our sports reporter S. Ram Mahesh spoke to him in Melbourne yesterday. Click here to read what he thinks of his Sachin Tendulkar dismissal.

Right, so a quick recap of the events that unfolded yesterday. India bowled out for just 191, a combination of loose shots and tight, well planned Australian fast bowling. In reply, Australia were 37/3 at one stage, but we have Ponting and Clarke doing a wonderful repair job to leave them close to India's first innings total.

Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting will resume for Australia. Clarke has already reached his fifty while Ponting is on 45. This could be Ponting's third straight 50.

05:01: Michael Clarke starts the day with a day and he reaches his fifty first thing in the morning.

Tough first day for India yesterday, can they pull things back today?

Hello and welcome to The Hindu's coverage of the second day of the second Test at Sydney.


Clarke and Ponting pummel Indian bowlersJanuary 4, 2012

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