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Clarke century rescues Australia after Ashwin bags fifer

Posted on Feb 22, 08:50PM | IBNS

Chennai, Feb 22 : Ravichandran Ashwin bagged his sixth fifer to put India in command against Australia after the first day's play of the first cricket Test at the M.A.Chidambaram Stadium here Friday.

But Australian skipper Michael Clarke struck an unbeaten century to rescue the hosts from 153 for five to reach 316 for seven in the first innings at stumps

Clarke was batting on 103, his 23rd Test century and sixth against India, and giving him company was Peter Siddle on seven.

But the real star of the day was local boy Ashwin, who was the wrecker in chief with his six of 88.

Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, playing his 100th Test, went wicketless and surprisingly bowled just 19 overs in the day as he proved ineffective.

Opting to bat first,Australia made a quick start with Warner and Ed Cowan (29) quickly adding 64 runs for their opening stand.

Warner, playing with a sore thumb, struck a gritty half-century as Australia reached 126 for two at lunch.

Australia lost way in the second session losing three quick wickets as they slumped from 126 for two to 153 for five.

Clarke walked in when Australia were struggling at 153 for five and joined debutant Moises Henriques (68) to rescue the innings with a 151-run stand.

The duo scored briskly and Henriques struck five fours in his 132-ball knock.

Clarke, however, was lucky to score a century and during the process got past legendary Don Bradman as he crossed 7,000 Test runs.

Batting on 39, Clarke survived a bat-pad chance as TV replays showed he had an inside edge but umpire Kumar Dharmasena gave him the benefit of doubt.

The Australian captain got his century in style hitting the penultimate ball of the day for a four over mid-off.

With the day closing down, it looked Clarke and Henriques would end the day without further loss. But Ashwin struck in the 90th over as Henriques became his fourth lbw victim.

Ravindra Jadeja dismissed Mitchell Starc (1) in the next over, going through his defence with a straight ball that crashed on to his off-stump.