Michael Clarke was forced to produce another Test century in order to save Australia’s first innings in the first Test against India in Chennai.
Clarke notched 103 not out on day one to rescue a flailing effort with the bat for visitors as the Aussies struggled against the Indian spin on the generous surface at MA Chidambaram Stadium. At one point the Aussies were at a lacklustre 5-153 after spinner Ravichandran Ashwin (6-88) tore through the top order on a pitch tailor made for the spin bowlers.
After losing the wickets of Ed Cowan and Phil Hughes cheaply, the two combined for just 35 runs, and then Shane Watson (28) and Matthew Wade without much support, it was left to Clarke and Test debutant Moises Henriques to save day one.
The two combined for a 151 fifth wicket stand to stop the India’s advance and the 26-year-old Henriques was extremely steady at the crease, playing deliveries like a player ten years his senior.
"Luckily after the first ball the nerves died down a little bit but they were going through the roof waiting to bat," Henriques said.
"Then when that wicket fell and having to walk out the legs started to turn to jelly. But after that first ball and after the first run things started to calm down a little.
"I certainly think I had the opportunity to make it my best innings but it was a little bit disappointing, I really wanted to get through the day and make sure we finished five wickets down.”
David Warner was the only other top end batsman to produce a noteworthy score- the opener reeled in a 59 despite carrying an unhealed thumb injury.
Clarke’s 23rd Test century was a momentous one- it pushed the Australian captain passed national icon Sir Donald Bradman in Test runs (6996) and became just the 10th Aussie to reach the 7000-run club.
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