Sydney: Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting have prior form in shattering Indian spirits at the SCG. Four years ago, they conspired to steal victory during a mad quarter hour late on the fifth day, when Clarke was handed the ball by the captain Ponting and took three wickets in an over. This year, they tortured India more slowly, with a partnership that lasted the best part of six hours and all but ensured Australia could not lose the Test.
Of course, since Kolkata in 2001, nothing has ever been truly certain in Tests between these two countries. But the drought-breaking century from Ponting - his first in nearly two years - and Clarke's maiden Test double-hundred steered Australia into the kind of position from which it would take a Kolkata-like comeback to rescue India. They would need something very, very special.