Clarke looks like getting Test call up - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Clarke looks like getting Test call up

By Will Swanton 30/09/2004 11:27:17 PM Comments (0)

Michael Clarke's chances of making a Test debut next week have skyrocketed after Simon Katich batted at number three for Australia in the tour match against Mumbai at the Cricket Club of India's Brabourne Stadium.

Matthew Hayden fell straight into his Indian groove with a commanding 67, Justin Langer made a patient 24 and Katich purred to an easy 30 as Australia reached 3-154 at stumps.

The tourists were given an immediate reminder of how the game is played on the sub-continent when Mumbai, unbeaten against visiting sides since its first fixture against England in 1934, opened the bowling with offspinner Ramesh Powar.

India is contemplating using three spinners in the first Test at Bangalore from October 6.

The start was delayed by four hours because of heavy overnight rain before Australian captain Adam Gilchrist won the toss and elected to bat.

Most interest centred on who would bat at number three - the position vacated by injured captain Ricky Ponting and the subject of great debate ahead of next week's Test.

Not any more.

Katich was the man on Thursday and is likely to retain the role until Ponting returns from his broken thumb for the third Test at Chennai. As a result, NSW young gun Clarke seems certain to be ushered into the Test XI at Katich's old position of number six.

Gilchrist has already said the other reserve batsman in the squad, Victoria's Brad Hodge, will not be considered for a position in the lower-middle order because he's a specialist number three.

Hayden and Langer made a strong start to the tour with a 69-run stand that ended second ball after tea. Langer pushed forward and edged medium-pacer Ajit Agarkar to wicketkeeper Vinayak Samant.

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