Clarke continues amazing run to steal Ashwin’s thunder

Australia captain hits another unbeaten century while India spinner takes six wickets

Captain Michael Clarke led the fightback for Australia with a wonderfully crafted century after Ravichandran Ashwin had put India in charge on the opening day of their Test series in Chennai.

Clarke (103no), who was given a major let-off on 41, sealed his hundred in the final over of the day; he was aided by a fine innings of 68 from debutant Moises Henriques, with the pair putting on 151 for the sixth wicket.

That came after Ashwin had single-handedly reduced the tourists to 153 for 5 and the off-spinner then ended Henriques’ stay to end the day with 6 for 88, while Ravindra Jadeja also picked up a late scalp as Australia finished on 316 for 7.

Meanwhile in Centurion, AB de Villiers picked up where Hashim Amla left off as South Africa moved into a strong position on the first day of the third and final Test against Pakistan. De Villiers reached stumps unbeaten on 98 as South Africa posted an impressive 334 for 6.

Amla’s aggressive 92 had earlier propped up the Proteas after a wobbly start that saw them give up two early wickets, including that of skipper Graeme Smith for just five. Amla’s demise before tea appeared significant with the hosts on 186 for 4, but De Villiers picked up the baton to smash 13 fours in 179 balls.

Rahat Ali shone with three wickets, including the key scalp of Amla, but on the whole the Pakistan attack was second best as South Africa enhanced their chances of a series whitewash.

England Lions’ miserable tour continued as a 113-run defeat to Australia A gave the hosts an unassailable 3-0 lead in their five-match series. Australia A made 256 for 6 from their 50 overs, with Callum Ferguson (65) and captain Aaron Finch (57) the top scorers.

Simon Kerrigan was comfortably the pick of England’s bowlers with 2 for 27 from his 10 overs. In reply, James Taylor made an excellent 78 not out from 82 balls, but received precious little support, with only Gary Ballance (26) and Toby Roland-Jones (15) reaching double figures.