Clarke, Smith tons punish India on rain-hit day

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Old 10-Dec-2014
Clarke, Smith tons punish India on rain-hit day

The India bowlers showed no improvement in the first Test as centuries from commanding Michael Clarke and Steven Smith lifted Australia to an imposing 517/7 on a day where only 30.4 overs could be bowled because of four interruptions (three due to rain and one due to bad light) at the Adelaide Oval on Wednesday.

After taking three quick wickets late on day one with the second new ball, India had clawed their way back into the match to some extent but needed to carry that momentum into day two. However, the bowlers - taking no credit away from Clarke and Smith - continued to bowl short just like they did on Tuesday and when they kept it full they overdid it, the result of which was a flurry of drives at will from the New South Wales pair.

There was a lot of speculation as to whether Clarke, who had retired on 60 on account of a back injury, would be able to bat again and if he did, whether he will be able to go on without further trouble. The Australian captain put all speculation to rest by striding out at the start of play with Smith and hitting Ishant Sharma for four off his fifth ball faced. There was some momentary discomfort now and then, especially when Clarke was bowled short at, but as the game went on he batted like the twinkle-toed batsman of old.

Smith, who resumed his innings on 72, started from where he had left off. Only 12.2 overs could be bowled in the first session and early lunch was taken following the first interruption with Australia scoring 51 runs in those overs. The second session was even shorter with just 1.5 overs possible but there was enough time for Smith to complete his fifth ton off 172 balls with a flick off the errant Varun Aaron for two.

With the overcast conditions continuing to envelope the ground, both batsmen showed some urgency in the final session as 50 runs came in 7.3 overs. During this period, Clarke got to his 28th hundred off 127 balls - seventh at the venue and seventh against India - in similar fashion as his partner had, flicking Aaron off his pads for a single. After the third hold-up, Smith and Clarke continued their good work and took the total past the 500-run mark. The first success of the day at last came for India when Clarke, after Smith was dropped by Ishant at deep fine leg off the previous delivery, found Cheteshwar Pujara at square leg off the bowling of legspinner Karn Sharma. Clarke made 128 off 163 balls, hitting 18 fours.

Four more balls were bowled before bad light brought the day to a close with Smith (162 off 231 balls, 21x4s) and Mitchell Johnson at the crease. The fact that three Indian bowlers conceded in excess of 100 runs - Mohammed Shami (2/120), Aaron (2/136), Karn (2/143) - speaks how effective they were.

Brief scores: Australia 517/7 in 120 overs at stumps on day two (Clarke 128, Smith 162*; Shami 2/120, Aaron 2/136; Karn 2/143) vs India

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