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Clarke eases injury fears

Aussie batsman pulled from Sheffield Shield clash as a precaution

Clarke: Scored century

Australia batsman Michael Clarke insists that his withdrawal from the final two sessions of a Sheffield Shield clash was only a precaution.

The Test vice-captain completed a classy knock of 113 for New South Wales against Victoria but then did not take the field for the rest of day three after suffering with a sore back.

The 29-year-old reached the boundary only three times on a slow outfield at the SCG and running between the wickets clearly took its toll.

But Clarke, who has had back issues in the past, quickly dismissed suggestions that the problem will affect his preparation for the first Ashes Test on November 25.

"I'm certainly not too concerned about it to be honest," Clarke said.

Smart

"I was just listening to the experts and doing what was right. I think it's more so because of what we've got coming up we wanted to be smart. It's just stiff, I just pulled up a little bit stiff.

"It was a bit sandy out there so it's a bit hard on your legs ... so we thought with what's coming up I'm better off doing all the right things.

"I had some treatment and I've got to see how it pulls up tomorrow morning, but hopefully it'll be right to get back out there again tomorrow."

Clarke batted for over five-and-a-half hours in Sydney and was pleased to get so much time at the crease.

He added: "Obviously any time you make a hundred is a great feeling, but more than anything else for me it was about spending as much time in the middle as I possibly could.

Contribution

"So I was stoked with that, to be able to face so many balls and help contribute to the team as well."

Australia spinner Nathan Hauritz took 2- 47 off 21 overs after taking the new ball in Victoria's second innings, an effort that impressed Clarke.

"I thought he bowled really well today. Under pressure opening the bowling, I thought he bowled real well," he said.

"And I thought he bowled pretty well the other day without too much luck. A couple of balls lobbed over fielders' heads, (and there were) a couple of dropped catches.

"I think he's slowly building momentum and his confidence is certainly growing.

"And I know he's certainly excited about this first Test match in Brisbane and hoping he gets selected, and I think if he continues to bowl the way he has in this game I think his results and his figures will look a lot different."