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Last Updated: Sunday, 27 January 2008, 08:34 GMT
Australia close in on series win
Fourth Test, Adelaide, day four (close):
Australia 563 v India 526 & 45-1
By Paresh Soni

Michael Clarke
Clarke was dropped on 84 before registering his sixth Test century
Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke made centuries as Australia all but ended India's chances of tying their series on day four of the fourth Test.

The hosts, who resumed on 322-3, were finally out for 563, with Irfan Pathan taking 3-112 and Ishant Sharma 3-115.

Ponting (140) and Clarke (118) were in no hurry as they put on 210 before the last six wickets fell for 73.

Mitchell Johnson then trapped Pathan lbw for a duck as India closed on 45-1 with a draw the most likely result.

The tourists may not find that entirely straightforward on a wearing pitch at the Adelaide Oval, however, as England discovered when they collapsed in a similar situation on the final day to hand the Aussies victory in 2006.


Either way, Australia are almost certain to win the series 2-1, which Ponting and Clarke went a long way to ensuring with some patient batting.

Ponting ended a lean run with the bat to chalk up his 34th Test hundred off 183 balls to join Brian Lara and Sunil Gavaskar in second place on the all-time list of century makers behind Sachin Tendulkar's 39.

The skipper batted with a runner after lunch when he began to experience back spasms and was dismissed when he got an inside edge off Virender Sehwag on to his stump.

His partnership with Clarke was a new record for the fourth wicket for Australia against India, breaking the previous mark of 178 set by Allan Border and Dean Jones at Chennai (Madras) in 1986.

Ricky Ponting receives treatment from physio Alex Kountouris
Ponting required a runner following lunch after suffering back spasms

Clarke survived a dropped catch from Rahul Dravid on 84 to bring up his sixth Test century before he was caught at second slip by VVS Laxman off Sharma, which triggered a lower-order collapse.

Adam Gilchrist, who announced his retirement on Saturday, arrived at the crease to a standing ovation from the 19,400-strong crowd and generous applause from the Indian players.

He thumped Pathan straight down the ground for four, almost hitting umpire Billy Bowden who fell over as tried to evade the ball.

But the wicket-keeper/batsman was out for 14 after just 21 minutes when he drove a full-toss from Pathan straight to Sehwag at cover, leaving the ground to another standing ovation in what was probably his last Test innings.

After Pathan fell, Sehwag survived a dropped catch off Clarke at second slip then a confident lbw appeal from Brett Lee to reach stumps on 31 with Dravid on 11.

  • Australia's Michael Clarke:
    "All our bowlers have a big job ahead. I believe we'll get plenty of opportunities - we've just to try and hold our catches.

    "Funny things happen in this game and I think if we bowl well we'll have a bit of a chase at the end of the day.

    "It's spinning more and on the last day of a Test the ball can go up and down a bit more. I've no doubt this is a winnable Test - but only for Australia."

  • India's Irfan Pathan:
    "You never know what's going to happen if we get quick runs. So many matches have changed on the last day.

    "We have to be careful in the first hour and once we get a partnership we can look forward.

    "Australia have to bat last and if we put some runs on board you might see some really good cricket!"

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