Clarke ton props up Aus

Clarke ton props up Aus

Michael Clarke

Clarke, playing only a week after calling off his engagement to model Lara Bingle, showed plenty of character and poise to register a three-figure score in the final over, helping Australia reach 316 for four at the draw of stumps.

The Australian vice-captain (100 batting) appeared a touch edgy at the beginning of his innings but once he got his eye in, he was the dominant partner in an undefeated 140-run association for the fifth wicket with Marcus North (52 batting).

Clarke, who walked in following the dismissal of Mike Hussey (4) in the second session, was involved in a 61-run partnership with Simon Katich, but the stylish batsman hardly looked the part. Following the dismissal of Katich (79), however, Clarke began to call the shots and with North playing an innings of great confidence, Australia got through to a solid total at close.

Clarke often threw caution to the wind and seemed intent on reaching his 14th Test century before the end of play, which he did with a single off the bowling of debutant Brent Arnel. He used 102 deliveries to record his half-century but took only 39 more to notch up 100 runs, his innings so far having included two sixes and 10 fours.
Australia, who lost opener Shane Watson (hip) to injury prior to the match, went into tea at 163 for three, Ricky Ponting (41) and Hussey falling with the addition of just 70 runs to their lunch score.

Katich posted his half-century later in the session, but the Australian run rate was kept in check by some excellent Black Caps bowling, especially from seamer Daryl Tuffey.
Earlier, the tourists won the toss and elected to bat with Katich joined by Phil Hughes, who received a late call-up following the withdrawal of Watson. Hughes was the only dismissal of the morning session when he was out for a quick-fire 20.

SCORE BOARD

AUSTRALIA (I Innings):
Hughes c Taylor b Arnel    20
Katich lbw Arnel    79
Ponting (run out)    41
M Hussey c Watling b Martin    4
Clarke (batting)    100
North (batting)    52
Extras (B-2, LB-12, W-2, NB-4)    20      
Total (for 4 wkts, 90 overs)    316
Fall of wickets: 1-25, 2-104, 3-115, 4-176.
Bowling: Martin 19-1-63-1, Southee 13-2-55-0, Arnel 20-3-70-2, Tuffey 16-6-35-0, Vettori 21-2-69-0, Guptill 1-0-10-0.

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