Adelaide, Jan 27 : Centuries from Australian captain Ricky Ponting and vice captain Michael Clarke ensured that the fourth Test match against India would probably end in a draw, but Adam Gilchrist who was playing the final innings of an exceptional career stole the limelight.
Gilchrist walked into round of applause as Indian players joined the Adelaide crowd to give him a standing ovation in what probably could turn out his final innings. He didn't make much of a dent on the scoreboard.
Australia gathered a valuable 37-run lead and then picked up the wicket of Irfan Pathan, leg before to Mitchell Johnson, before India had wiped off the arrears.
India recovered well after losing their makeshift opener Irfan Pathan early for a duck. Rahul Dravid and Virender Sehwag ensured that there were no further hiccups as India coasted to 45 for the loss of one wicket. The visitors lead by 8 runs, as the Adelaide Test appears to be nudging towards a draw.
India came out to bat in their second essay after the Australian innings was wrapped up for 563. India managed to get some quick wickets. Ishant Sharma and Irfan Pathan joined in to get rid off Andrew Symonds and Brett Lee respectively but not before Kangaroos went past India's first innings total of 526 runs.
Gilchrist arrived after Michael Clarke edged an Ishant Sharma delivery only to see VVS Laxman take a diving catch in slips. Clarke departed after scoring a brilliant 118 runs. Clarke and Ponting ensured that Kangaroos were in safety zone after India scored a mammoth 500 plus score in first innings.
Gilchrist departed soon after scoring just 14 runs and walked back to standing ovation. Australia scored 506 runs for loss of six wickets when Gilly departed.
India finally managed to get the breakthrough they needed badly as Ricky Ponting played on to a Sehwag delivery on to his stumps. Michael Clarke on the other end stroked his way to a magnificent century.
Clarke was the third centurion in the innings after Hayden and Ponting. Australia backed by some brilliant batting by Ponting and Clarke saw Australian total get past 450 runs.
Earlier, Kumble tried all the artillery in his armour but failed to get the breakthrough in the pre lunch session as Ponting and Clarke played a defiant innings. Ponting played an uncharacteristically cautious innings to keep the Indian bowlers guessing for the right length.
Even Virender Sehwag who was brought into attack by Kumble failed to get any breakthrough. Ponting and Clarke added over 184 runs partnership much to the frustration of Indian bowlers.
Trailing by over 200 runs Australia started the fourth day proceedings on a cautious note however skipper Ricky Ponting went on to complete a well-compiled century. In process Michael Clarke also brought up his 9th Test match fifty.
Both batsmen were a bit careful to start with but took the attack once set. Ponting's century is his fifth century against India. It's Ponting 34th century and an uncharacteristic knock as he laboured his way to the century when Australia needed it most.
Story first published: Sunday, January 27, 2008, 15:26 [IST]
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