Clarke helps Australia secure draw
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Ground:Edgbaston, Birmingham
Scorecard:England v Australia
Player:JM Anderson, MJ Clarke, MEK Hussey, SR Watson
Event:Australia in British Isles 2009

DateLine: 3rd August 2009


A contest that promised to develop into a memorable one fizzled out as the day’s play progressed. England removed the overnight batsmen, Watson and Hussey, but not before they ate into the crucial overs. Clarke and North sensed that they could not be troubled by any of the bowlers then proceeded play out the impotent English bowlers with ease. The lack of fire-power in the English bowlers were there to be seen and crucially the rain turned out to be a deciding factor.


In the morning the only mission that the overnight batsmen, Shane Watson and Michael Hussey had in their mind would have been to save the Test and not to attempt anything remotely similar to bravado. The overnight duo showed loads of patience when they dealt with determination the English bowling attack, which sensed a chance to go up 2-0 in the Ashes series since 1986.


The pair was first subjected to a stifling stump to stump line from Graham Onions and a barrage of bouncers from Andrew Flintoff. The duo safely negotiated the bowlers who on their part looked quiet flat. Swann was introduced but he too could not locate the ideal length to trouble the batsmen. Shane Watson has put up his case strongly before the Australian selectors to be one half of the opening pair as he showed the needed patience and technique. His judgement outside the off stump was impeccable and anything short was effectively put away with minimum fuss. Hussey on the other hand was determined not to gift away his wicket as he concentrated and battled hard. Of the two, Hussey found the boundary ropes regularly, while Watson waited for the loose balls.


When Swann presented him with a juicy full toss he gave the ball the deserved punishment to raise his second fifty of the match and looked very secure. But just as what transpired in the first innings he could not carry on when he got settled and he nicked an Anderson delivery behind. Hussey calmly compiled his half century and was looking dangerous. Broad was introduced into the attack and he forced Hussey to edge an away swinger into Prior’s gloves. Clarke and North then faced a monumental task in saving the Test. Both the batsmen weathered the storm initially and then settled down to subdue the English bowling attack.


The conditions were overcast but the ball refused to swing, putting off the English bowling attack which consisted of mainly of bowers who make the ball swerve in the air rather than off the pitch. The pair established their complete dominance over the England bowling attack in the second session of the day’s play as they grinded out the life out of the match. They seldom tried to lift the tempo as they played out each over very cautiously so as to deny England any chance to sneak back into the match. The pair then extended their partnership well into the third session and North was in sight of his second century of the tour when Anderson held onto a stunner to remove North who was just four short off a well deserved century.


Clarke then joined forces with Manou to thwart a tiring English bowling attack, as he closed on to his twelfth century. There was drama towards the end of day’s play when Clarke was caught off a no ball, but Clarke duly completed a well deserving century as he helped Australia secure a draw in the third Test.


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