Clarke, Gilchrist face crucial session - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Clarke, Gilchrist face crucial session

04/12/2006 06:03:17 AM Comments (0)

Michael Clarke's partnership with Adam Gilchrist looms as the critical phase of the second Ashes Test at Adelaide Oval.

Clarke (30 not out) and Gilchrist (13 not out) are Australia's last recognised batsmen and hold the key to the home side's chances of keeping a rejuvenated England at bay.

Australia resumes its first innings at 5-312, still 239 runs short of England's first innings tally of 6-551.

Australia leads the series 1-0 but as it did in last year's Ashes series, England is pressing hard to level the series with three matches to play.

"The first hour ... is going to be crucial for us," said Australian captain Ricky Ponting.

"If we can get those two guys through the first hour and get a good partnership going from there, then we're going to be right back in the game again."

Ponting said Australia still had a chance to chase down England's total on a lifeless wicket, but if that fails he would think about declaring and challenging Andrew Flintoff to set Australia a target.

"If we lose early wickets (today) that's probably what we'll have to do," he said.

Ponting scored 142, his eighth century in nine Tests to surpass Steve Waugh's Australian record of 32 hundreds.

He also boosted his career Test average past 60.

Fast bowler Matthew Hoggard (4-76) took all four wickets to fall on Sunday.

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