India 526 & 45-1 Australia 563: Ponting closes gap for Aussies

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The Independent Online

India held a narrow lead over Australia after the penultimate day of the fourth and final test in Adelaide yesterday.

India were 45 for 1 at stumps in their second innings, a lead of eight runs after trailing Australia by 37 on the first innings.

Ricky Ponting (140), Michael Clarke (118) and Matthew Hayden (103) all scored centuries to steer Australia past India's first-innings total of 526. Irfan Pathan (3 for 112) and Ishant Sharma (3 for 115) captured three wickets each as the tourists polished off the last six Australian wickets for 73 runs after Ponting and Clarke had shared a record partnership of 210.

India need to win to level an enthralling series at 2-2, but the match appears headed for a draw with only one day left.

Ponting chalked up his 34th Test hundred to join Brian Lara and Sunil Gavaskar in second on the all-time list of century-makers. The only player with more is India's Sachin Tendulkar, who completed his 39th earlier in the match.

Ponting was dismissed when he got an inside edge off Virender Sehwag on to his stumps. Clarke was caught at second slip by V V S Laxman off Sharma, triggering a lower-order collapse, with Adam Gilchrist managing only 14 in his farewell appearance.

India lost an early wicket when they started their second innings, Pathan trapped lbw by Johnson for a duck. Sehwag survived a dropped catch off Clarke to reach stumps on 31 with Dravid on 11, leaving both teams needing something special on the last day to avert a draw.