Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Clarke Misses Ton in Tough Day

Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Clarke Misses Ton in Tough Day

Article excerpt

AUSTRALIAN stand-in captain Michael Clarke fell just short of a century but did enough to ensure the home side had something to defend in the one-day match against New Zealand at the MCG yesterday.

Clarke (98 off 133 balls) and Michael Hussey (75 off 94) combined for a 133-run fourth-wicket partnership to guide Australia to 5-225 after being sent in to bat.

The side's two senior batsmen - in the absence of resting skipper Ricky Ponting - came together with their team struggling at 3-63 in the 18th over and showed patience to rebuild the innings.

It was an impressive response from Clarke, who entered the match under pressure, taking over from Ponting with Australia on a four-match losing streak and opening the innings in the absence of the injured Shaun Marsh.

Adding to those burdens, he faced questions before the game over last month's dressing room spat with Test teammate Simon Katich.

Katich reportedly grabbed Clarke by the throat on the night Australia won last month's Sydney Test against South Africa, angered that Clarke wanted to leave before joining in the traditional team song, Under the Southern Cross to have drinks with his fiancee Lara Bingle. …

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