Tendulkar and Gambhir needed to occupy crease

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Australia struck two late blows with the ball late on day two of the fourth Test against India after double centuries from Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke had led the hosts to 604-7dec at Adelaide Oval.

The tourists reached 61-2 at the close of play on the second day, still requiring a further 344 runs just to make Australia bat again as they look to deny the home team a 4-0 series sweep.

Gautam Gambhir (30 not out) and Sachin Tendulkar (12no) will be looking to spend as much of today as possible out in the middle after the Indians lost struggling acting captain Virender Sehwag (18) and the equally out-of-sorts Rahul Dravid (one) in the post-tea session.

Earlier, Ryan Harris (35no) supported Brad Haddin (42no) in an unbroken 71-run stand for the eighth wicket for the hosts, but the main fireworks had come earlier thanks to Ponting (221) and Clarke (210).

While the pitch remains a good one to bat on, the Australians’ more potent bowling and intent in the field means there will be fewer easy runs on offer for India as they seek to avoid the follow-on and the ignominy of an eighth successive away Test defeat.