Michael Clarke century steadies Australia

GREG BUCKLE
Last updated 00:26 23/02/2013

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Michael Clarke waited until the second-last ball of the day to reach a magnificent captain's century to lead Australia to 7-316 at stumps on day one of the first test against India.

Clarke is unbeaten on 103 from 169 deliveries with 11 fours and one six, after coming into the match with a hamstring complaint.

The tourists - who chose to bat first on a crumbling, spinning pitch in Chennai - stumbled to 5-153 after lunch.

That was before debutant allrounder Moises Henriques played a mature hand of 68 and shared a 151-run stand with Clarke.

The day's pivotal incident came when Clarke was on 39 in the penultimate over before tea.

The right-hander appeared to give a bat-pad catch to short leg but the appeal from offspinner Ravi Ashwin (6-88) was turned down.

The short-sighted decision by the India board to oppose the use of the decision-review system has already proved costly in this series.

It was Clarke's 23rd hundred and ninth in 22 matches as captain and came with a stylish four to long-off.

David Warner added 64 for the first wicket with Ed Cowan (29) who was stumped off the bowling of Ashwin.

Phil Hughes was lbw to Ashwin for six but Australia were well-placed at lunch at 2-126.

Ashwin threw Australia's middle order into disarray by removing Shane Watson lbw for 28 in the first over after the interval.

Ashwin trapped Warner (59) lbw in his next over and 12 runs later Matthew Wade (12) was Ashwin's third lbw victim at 5-153.

Clarke, who began the series seven runs behind Bradman's 6996 runs, became the 10th Australian player to reach the 7000-mark with a cut shot to the point boundary off the bowling of Harbhajan Singh.

Australia reached 5-215 at tea and Henriques was out in the 90th over with the total on 304, when he was Ashwin's fourth lbw victim. Mitchell Starc was bowled by left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja in the next over.

Australia attempted to put off-field security tensions to one side on Friday following twin bomb blasts in Hyderabad overnight which claimed the lives of at least 14 people.

The second test starts in Hyderabad on March 2.

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- AAP

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