Clarke drives Australia recovery

Delhi Test heading for draw

Last Updated: 02/11/08 10:56am

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Clarke: painstaking innings

Clarke: painstaking innings

Sky Bet

Third Test Match
India 613-7 dec (G Gambhir 206, V V S Laxman 200 no, S R Tendulkar 68) & 43-2 v Australia 577 (M J Clarke 112, R T Ponting 87, M L Hayden 83, S M Katich 64, M E K Hussey 53, V Sehwag 5-104)

Michael Clarke's eighth Test century led Australia out of trouble on the fourth day against India in Delhi.

The New South Welshman made 112 to help get the tourists up to 577 all out, a first-innings deficit of just 36.

He was dropped three times - on 21, 90 and 94 - before being ninth out in the evening session.

India stumbled to 43-2 in their second innings by the close, losing Virender Sehwag and nightwatchman Ishant Sharma.

Sehwag (16) fell to Brett Lee (1-19) for the second time in the match, bowled via the inside edge, while Lee's new-ball partner Stuart Clark (1-16) removed Ishant (1) from a simple catch off the splice to Ricky Ponting at point.

The hosts, who lead the four-match series 1-0, hold an overall advantage of 79 but, with just one day of the third Test at the Feroz Shah Kotla remaining, a positive result appears unlikely.

Dropped chances

Australia resumed on the fourth morning at 338-4 in reply to India's 613-7 declared, needing another 76 just to avoid the follow on.

Clarke was handed a reprieve in the fourth over of the day when Ishant grassed a straightforward chance at long off after the right-hander had danced down the track and attempted to cart leg-spinner Amit Mishra out of the ground.

Shane Watson (36) was the first to depart when, after some early belligerence, he was bowled playing back by a delivery from a Sehwag that turned sharply to hit leg-stump.

That was the part-time spinner's fourth wicket of the innings but his hopes of completing a maiden five-wicket haul were initially stymied by his team-mates' poor fielding.

Clarke was twice the beneficiary - VVS Laxman dropped a simple chance at long-off and shortly afterwards Mishra failed to grasp another straightforward opportunity on the square-leg boundary.

India captain Anil Kumble, who missed most of the third day due to a finger injury, brought himself into attack immediately upon returning to the field after 14 overs had been bowled.

He finally picked up his first wicket of the series, getting rid of Brad Haddin (17), who was stumped after charging down the pitch and missing.

White stand

Cameron White joined Clarke in a 106-run, seventh-wicket stand that took Australia to the brink of tea.

Sehwag finally completed his five-wicket bag when White (44) dragged an bottom edged sweep back onto his stumps just before the interval.

There was just enough time left in the session for Clarke to reach three figures by chopping a Sehwag delivery into the covers. Australia's vice captain had faced 219 balls and hit just six fours and a six during an unusually restrained contribution.

Australia went to tea on 539-7 and at that stage had ambitions of claiming a first-innings lead.

But they lost their final three wickets in quick time during the evening session to be all out for 577.

Lee was the first to go, trapped lbw playing across the line to Kumble for eight. Clarke was then finally caught at deep extra cover by Zaheer Khan off Mishra (2-144) for 112 and Kumble (3-112) wrapped up the innings, dismissing Mitchell Johnson caught and bowled for 15.

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