Clarke torments India again
Michael Clarke proved the scourge of the India bowlers once again as he teamed up with debutant Moises Henriques to steer Australia away from trouble on day one of the first Test against India in Chennai.
Clarke, who posted scores of 329 not out and 210 when the sides met in the reverse Test series in 2011-12, led from the front once more with an unbeaten 103 as Australia closed on 316-7.
Such a total looked extremely unlikely after Ravi Ashwin's five-wicket haul had left the Baggy Green's tottering on 153-5, but Clarke found a more than capable allay in debutant Henriques, who impressed during his innings of 68.
The Portugal-born right-hander became just the sixth Australian No 7 batsman to score a 50 on debut, but failed to see the day out as the irrepressible Ashwin added him to his wicket-haul to finish with 6-88.
India will perhaps have been ruing the absence of the Decision Review System at the close of play after replays had earlier shown Clarke to have presented a legitimate bat/pad catch to short-leg when on 39.
The day started and ended well for Clarke, who, after winning the toss and opting to bat first, watched on as openers David Warner (59) and Ed Cowan (29) made a lightning start before two quick wickets stymied their progress.
The left-handed duo scored exactly 50 in the first 10 overs, Warner surviving a dropped catch in the ninth over, Ashwin's first, when he edged to Virender Sehwag at slip only to see a straightforward chance shelled.
Warner was handed another life when Mahendra Singh Dhoni failed to take a tough stumping chance off Ashwin - a failing the India skipper rectified when he whipped the bails off to remove Cowan.
The second wicket was soon to arrive, Phil Hughes lasting 15 uncomfortable balls for six before edging Ashwin onto his stumps with an ungainly cut.
Shane Watson (28) brought up the Australia hundred in the 28th over, with Warner moving to 50 soon after, however both perished to Ashwin lbw in similar fashion shortly after lunch.
Off-spinner Ashwin had his fifth wicket when Matthew Wade (12) played down the wrong line and was adjudged lbw, and, at 153-5, Henriques joined his captain Clarke at the crease with the tourists in trouble.
But the 26-year-old from New South Wales displayed admirable temperament on debut, sharing a vital 151-run partnership with his captain.
Henriques, plucked out of the wilderness somewhat following the retirement of Mike Hussey, struck five boundaries during his well-compiled debut knock, only to see a rush of blood end his demise - a missed sweep hitting him plumb in front - as Ashwin claimed his sixth victim.
Ravindra Jadeja (1-56) swiftly ended Mitchell Starc's stay to put Australia seven down, however Clarke ended proceedings on a high by reaching three figures with a 11th four off the penultimate ball of an enthralling day.