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Page last updated at 07:41 GMT, Sunday, 4 January 2009

Clarke century boosts Australia

Third Test, Sydney (day two, stumps):
Australia 445 v South Africa 125-1

Dates: 3-7 January Start time: 2330 GMT (2-6 January)
Match scorecard

Michael Clarke
Clarke made South Africa pay for dropping him twice on Saturday

Australia gave themselves a good chance of earning a consolation victory in the final Test against South Africa on the back of Michael Clarke's fine 138.

The Aussie vice-captain, dropped twice on the first day, converted an unbeaten 73 into his 10th first-class century.

And with further runs from Mitchell Johnson (64) and Nathan Hauritz (41), the Australians totalled a solid 445.

South Africa replied with 125-1, Graeme Smith retiring with a broken hand that will keep him out for six weeks.

The tourists, having won the first two matches to earn their first Test series victory in Australia, started the day in fine shape to force a whitewash.

But having bowled well on Saturday to restrict the hosts to 267-6, they were not counting on a 142-run stand between Clarke and Johnson.

That was finally ended after lunch when JP Duminy's occasional spin forced the downfall of Clarke, the right-hander driving a catch back to the bowler off a full toss.

Johnson soon followed, edging Dale Steyn (3-95) to slip, but there was a further sting in the tail, with Hauritz and Peter Siddle (23) adding 59 for the ninth wicket.

Paul Harris (3-84) finally removed both men as Australia continued to attack, and South Africa reached tea on 18-0.

Smith and Neil McKenzie batted for a further eight overs in the final session before a Johnson delivery hit Smith on his left hand with the total on 35.

McKenzie batted on smoothly against a novice Aussie bowling attack before Siddle nipped one back into his pads to remove him lbw for 23.

However, Hashim Amla (30) and Jacques Kallis (36) prevented any further damage.

The day had belonged chiefly to Clarke, who blotted out previous failures at his home ground to reach an important landmark.

He said afterwards: "It's my fifth Test here and I hadn't scored a fifty, so it's very disappointing to have your family and friends come out to watch and you don't perform. I've let them down too many times, so today I didn't let them down. It was extra special."

However he was upset with the manner of his dismissal, explaining: "I was very disappointed, a rank full toss. I was a little bit mentally fatigued.

"It's been a tough series, a very good series for me personally to try myself against a very good attack."

The world's three leading news agencies are not covering the series due to a dispute with Cricket Australia.

Reuters, Agence France-Presse and Associated Press have suspended all coverage of the 2008-09 season.

Their photographers and reporters did not supply material from within the ground. As a result, we cannot use pictures from the current match.

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see also
SA skipper Smith breaks his hand
04 Jan 09 |  South Africa
Smith ruled out of S Africa ODIs
01 Jan 09 |  South Africa
Aussies lick their wounds
30 Dec 08 |  Cricket
Lee & Symonds to miss final Test
30 Dec 08 |  Australia

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