Clarke Century Puts Australia In The Driving Seat
Australia 316-4 (Clarke 100no, Katich 79) v New Zealand
First Test, Wellington, day one
Michael Clarke put his off-field problems behind him to register his 14th Test century on day one of the opening Test against New Zealand, his innings helping his side close the day on an imposing score of 316 for four.
Clarke was unbeaten on 100 and Marcus North was on 52 when stumps were drawn after both teams had handed debuts to pace bowlers, Ryan Harris earning his place in the Australia side having come through a fitness test and Brent Arnel getting his first taste of Test action with New Zealand.
Arnel made a good impression on his first day of Test cricket, having the returning Phillip Hughes caught by Ross Taylor at slip for 20 and then Simon Katich trapped in front for 79.
Katich put on 79 with Ricky Ponting (41) for the second wicket before the Australian captain was run out by BJ Watling.
Australia were then reduced to 176 for four when Michael Hussey, caught by Watling off the bowling of Chris Martin for four, and Katich fell but Clarke and North put on an unbroken stand of 140 to keep the New Zealanders at bay.
Clarke stroked ten fours and two sixes in his 142-ball innings while North, whose place has come under scrutiny in some quarters due to a lack of recent form, answered his critics with a fluent innings of 52 in 90 balls, the left-hander hitting three fours and a six.
Arnel ended the day with figures of two for 70 from 20 overs.
© Cricket World 2010