South Africa vs Australia 2014: Michael Clarke relieved after century

Australia's batsman and captain Michael Clarke reacts after reaching the 100 run mark on day 2 of the third test match between South Africa and Australia at Newlands stadium in Cape Town on March 2, 2014. AFP PHOTO / LUIGI BENNETT        (Photo credit should read Luigi Bennett/AFP/Getty Images)

Michael Clarke reacts after reaching the 100 run mark

Michael Clarke who has not scored runs for Australia in his last 11 innings was finally relieved after scoring a splendid century against South Africa in the third Test at Cape Town. He came under the spotlight for this particular Test following continuous failure in his last 11 innings. He managed only 60 runs in the last six innings as he didn’t fancy South Africa’s bowling attack.

Clarke, however, found it extremely difficult in his initial part of the innings in the third Test. He was hit on the ribs by South Africa’s pacer Morne Morkel. Despite the pain, he batted throughout the first day and now scored a fighting century which could be the innings of his life-time. Clarke hasn’t been dismissed and will be hoping for the rain gods to stay away to have a result in the match.

After the second day’s play, he was treated by his physio Alex Kountouris and doctor Peter Brukner. Clarke thanked his physio and the team doctor as it would have not been possible to continue without them. “Plenty of treatment, plenty of ice and I’m fortunate to have Alex the physio and the Doc [Peter Brukner] help me out,” Clarke said. “It was a long night, a longer morning to be honest, but I’m in great hands. Without their help, no way would I have got on the park today.

“It’s obviously very satisfying to contribute in this series. I was overdue, any time you make a hundred for Australia it’s good. I’ve never had a bad one. There were some tough stages there yesterday, I thought Morne Morkel bowled a couple of pretty quick spells when he went around the wicket and tried to attack the emblem on my helmet, the bounce was a little inconsistent so it wasn’t easy to consistently duck or hook and pull.

“I have been hit plenty of times through my career, maybe not so many times in one spell, but that’s the way it goes. So that was a bit difficult at the time so it was nice to get through, most importantly we have had one and a half days of Test cricket and we have 494 runs on the board, so I am extremely pleased with the position we are in.”

Clarke weathered a tight spell from Kyle Abbott who kept a check on the Australia’s captain by not offering any room for him. He, however, reached his 13th century as Australia skipper when he took a single off Veron Philander.

“It didn’t really bother me to be honest,” Clarke said. “Our goal today was to try and bat exactly like we did yesterday up until lunch and then assess where the game was at. So it wasn’t about my runs personally, it was making sure I was seeing that new ball off and doing the job for the team. Fortunately I was able to get that period.”

Michael Clarke has to take the decision on declaration as almost half-of the day was washed out due to persistent rain at Newlands. With only three days to go, a result looks improbable unless a strong bowling performance comes from Australia.

“I want to see what the weather’s like more than anything else in the morning,” he said. “The advantage now is we start at 10am every day, so we’ll still get some overs back. The forecast is pretty good for the next three days. I’ll have a good chat to Boof tonight. Obviously our goal is to win this Test match, so if that means batting for some time and getting as many runs as we can if we think it’s the best way to win we’ll do that. If we think declaring overnight is the best way then it doesn’t bother me.

“We hope that the wicket’s going to deteriorate and there’s more up and down [bounce]. Hopefully some reverse swing and a little bit of spin as the game goes on. You’ve got to sum up runs in your first innings versus how tough they’re going to be in second innings, how much time’s left in the game, what the weather’s like. A few things to consider, but the most important thing is how you’re going to win.”

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