ADELAIDE (Reuters) – Injured captain Michael Clarke made a surprise return to the crease and struck an inspiring century to put Australia in command after a rain-interrupted second day of the first test against India on Wednesday.
Clarke retired hurt on 60 with a lower back injury on the opening day, but after a sleep-deprived night of treatment and pain-killing injections, the 33-year-old’s courageous 128 helped drive the hosts to 517 for seven by stumps at Adelaide Oval.
The captain’s batting partner Steven Smith joined the party and was unbeaten on 162 when umpires halted play due to poor light, with paceman Mitchell Johnson yet to score.
Smith and Clarke’s 163-run partnership on a day of four rain interruptions demoralised the tourists, who dropped a series of catches in a shambolic fielding display in the afternoon.
Clarke’s 28th test century was also a record seventh at the ground and his fourth in succession dating back to an imperious 210 against the same opponents in 2012.
After Tuesday’s brilliant sunshine, leaden skies hung over the stadium early as Australia resumed on 354-6.