Cricket Australia

http://www.cricket.com.au/Global Items/news/2013/2/22/clarke-century-rescues-australia

Clarke century rescues Australia

UPDATED 22 February, 2013 10:37PM AEST | by Omnisport 11

Australia have fought back brilliantly on day one of the first Test with India in Chennai, led by none other than captain Michael Clarke who made his 23rd century.

Clarke came to the crease with Australia in a fair position at 2-72, but tempered the mid-order collapse which saw the tourists slump to 5-153 - as debutant Moises Henriques (68) combined with the skipper for a fine 151-run sixth-wicket partnership.

Henriques' departure to dominant spinner Ravichandran Ashwin (6-88) caused a minor stumble, as tail-ender Mitchell Starc (three) followed shortly after before Peter Siddle (one off 18) steadied to see out the day with Clarke (103) as Australia reached 7-316 at stumps.

Clarke was fortunate not to be given out when India had a strong appeal for a bat-pad catch when the New South Welshman was on 39, but umpire Kumar Dharmasena didn't see the healthy edge that the TV replays displayed.

Earlier, openers Ed Cowan (29) and Dave Warner (59) got the innings off to a smooth start.

Warner was fortunate not to be back in the pavilion first, though, as Virender Sehwag dropped a sitter off the bowling of Ashwin at first slip when the powerful left-hander was on 18.

Ashwin's next over saw Warner narrowly escape again with his wicket, as 'keeper MS Dhoni missed a tough stumping chance, with the ball hitting the Indian skipper high on his chest.

He wouldn't miss his second chance for stumping, though, this time when Cowan danced down the pitch, he was caught well short by some good glove work from Dhoni for India's first wicket.

Cowan had previously struck spinner Harbhajan Singh for six back over the bowler's head, as he looked to use his feet to the slow bowlers.

But it would bring his downfall, and first drop Phil Hughes followed shortly after for six when he played on to his stumps.

That brought Shane Watson to the crease, and together with Warner - once the opening partnership - combined for a 54-run stand until Watson was surprised by a low-bouncing Ashwin delivery that struck his pads for Ashwin's third and first lbw.

Warner was also caught on the pads by Ashwin in his very next over, before wicketkeeper Matthew Wade laboured for some time before he was also lbw to India's man-of-the-hour for 12.

At this stage, 250 looked like a target the Australians would have taken, but the debut of Henriques combined with the resistance of skipper Clarke ensured the Australians would post a competitive first-innings total.

Clarke also surpassed a couple of major milestones in what was his third Test century on Indian soil, as he became the 42nd player to reach 7000 Test runs, while also passing Don Bradman's career tally of 6996 to become the 10th-highest run scorer for Australia in the five-day format.

Henriques showed brilliant composure given the situation, hitting five fours in his 132-ball innings that vindicated his selection in the XI.

Despite some nervy moments stuck on 99 late in the day, Clarke was able to find the boundary on the penultimate delivery of play to complete an impressive comeback from the tourists.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

First Posted 22 February, 2013 10:34PM AEST

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