Sydney: Australia captain Michael Clarke hopes that his unbeaten double century against India will "earn him respect" while his former captain Ricky Ponting, who marked his return to form with a century, described the second day as an "unbelievable one" for his team.

"Hopefully, it would earn me respect. That`s all I can do?- to put the team in good position to win another Test. `Punter` had told me while I was starting as skipper that as a leader, I should be standing up in the field, leading from the front and scoring runs. That`s what I have tried to do," said Clarke who is in line for triple century on Thursday.

For Ricky Ponting, who got his 40th Test century, it was about capitalising on a good start having failed to seize the initiative on a number of occasions.

"There have been plenty of frustrating moments. It`s not when you get out early. It`s when you have had a decent start and not capitalized. It`s a game where the low scores are always going to happen. But when you are 40, 50 and 60, the great players make big scores," Ponting said.

"The last few weeks have been frustrating for in between the two hundreds, I was getting starts but not capitalizing," added Ponting.

Ponting recalled how he had a "brain fade" while going for his 100th run.

"I was probably run-out by two yards (if the throw had hit the stumps while Ponting ran for his 100th run). I had a brain fade. Thankfully, the ball missed the stumps or it would have been pretty sad end. When I got up, my shirt was destroyed, the grill was pressed against my face and I changed my shirt which probably made it the whole day out for the crowd," Ponting said in jest.

Clarke rated his 151 scored against the likes of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel in tougher conditions as a better innings but what made him proud on Wednesday is the fact that he batted throughout.
    
"It was best innings? Well, I would say it was my highest score ever. I was very proud to have made 150 against South Africa in tough conditions (in November). That wicket did a lot more. But what makes me proud is that I batted the whole day today. This is something I have wanted to do and I haven't done often," recalled Clarke.
    
Ponting called the day, an "unbelievable one".
    
"It was an unbelievable day. To make 1 for 366 during the day was special. Michael (Clarke) batted as good as ever in any game. The way we batted, we repaid the bowlers in setting this game up," said Ponting.
    
"Michael came last night. It was a huge little period for us. We were three down for not many. The momentum had begun to swing in favour of India. We played our natural games, showed great intent and also managed to score reasonably quick."
    
"It was the same this morning. Our scoring rate was very good and we are taking the game forward all the time. That's the way we want to play," Ponting said.
    
Clarke reiterated that they want to keep the momentum going for India is a kind of side which if it gets to the top, is very hard to stop.
    
"We are trying to build consistency. When you have your chance you need to grab with both hands. If India gets on top they are very hard to stop so we need to keep the momentum rolling.

The Australian skipper felt that they are in a wonderful position right now.
    
"We are in a wonderful position. The wicket has flattened out. It's important for us to make sure there is enough time left in the game. We have to bat well tomorrow morning and have enough time to get them out. Being 2-0 up is a long way away. We need to work very hard over the next three days."
    
Clarke said he wouldn't be replacing his helmet with baggy green cap if he was nearing the landmark of 300 —- something he used to do in early part of his career while nearing a century.
    
"It depends on the bowling. If there are two spinners on, I would be wearing (the baggy green cap). No, it was really silly to have done it while I was a kid. I will keep my helmet now."

(Agencies)