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Last Updated: Monday, 4 December 2006, 08:40 GMT
Clarke makes case to keep place
Michael Clarke
Clarke hit his first century in 19 Tests, spanning two years
Australia's Michael Clarke hopes his first Test century in two years will help cement his Ashes place.

Clarke, a late injury replacement for Shane Watson in the first Test, hit a classy 124 on day four in Adelaide.

"I knew my opportunities were going to be limited so I had to make the most of them," said the 25-year-old.

"I was very happy that I made a century here. Obviously I would have liked to continue on but it's good to have a case to put forward to the selectors."

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Clarke made a century on debut against India in 2004 and another in his first Test on home soil against New Zealand but was dropped after a poor Ashes series in 2005.

His display on Monday, following a half century in the first Test of the series, will put pressure on Damien Martyn's place if Watson returns for the next match in Perth.

Clarke shared stands of 98 with Adam Gilchrist (64) to avoid the follow-on in Adelaide, then 118 for the seventh wicket with Shane Warne to frustrate England.

Adam Gilchrist looked in great nick and that will hold him in great stead for the rest of the series

Michael Clarke

"It's been a long wait to score my third hundred for Australia but I'm certainly proud to do it against such a good team as England," added Clarke.

"We were under a bit of pressure early but Adam played fantastically and made my life a lot easier.

"I think the guys have got to be happy - we've got a great score on the board."

Clarke believes Gilchrist's first Ashes half century for four years could herald a return to form for the wicket-keeper, who has struggled to combat England's tactics to him.

"I know he's been working really hard in the nets and it was great to see him get some runs on the board," Clarke added.

"He looked in great nick and that will hold him in great stead for the rest of the series."



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