Clarke's 99 a treat for Australia
Michael Clarke fell just short of his maiden one-day international century against England but his 99 not out helped Australia to 290 for five in the fourth limited overs international at The Oval in London. Scorecardcricket Updated: Jul 01, 2010 00:47 IST
Michael Clarke fell just short of his maiden one-day international century against England but his 99 not out helped Australia to 290 for five in the fourth limited overs international at The Oval in London on Wednesday.
Vice-captain Clarke and captain Ricky Ponting, 92, shared a third wicket stand of 155 as Australia, with the five-match series lost at 3-0 down, looked to restore some pride.
Clarke, dropped off a difficult chance on five, began the final over on 98 and on strike.
He took a single off Tim Bresnan and had no care for what would have been only his fifth century in 178 ODIs.
Steven Smith then took a two before a four was followed by a dot ball and another boundary to the leg-spinning all-rounder, who finished on 18 not out after a bye was run off the last ball.
Ponting, before this match, had urged the top order to give their bowlers some runs to play with and Australia's total was the best by either side this series.
And Ponting, whose previous scores were 21, 13 and three, would have been acutely aware his own contributions were below standard.
However, the Tasmanian right-hander went some way to rectifying matters with a 93-ball innings featuring 10 boundaries.
His progress towards a 30th century at this level seemed assured until, to the first ball of the batting powerplay, Ponting played an 'inside-out' drive against James Anderson and was caught at extra-cover by England captain Andrew Strauss.
But Anderson's 10 overs went for an expensive 66 runs.
And in his 350th match at this level, the 35-year-old Ponting became only the third player, after India's Sachin Tendulkar and Sri Lanka's Sanath Jayasuriya, to score more than 13,000 ODI runs.
Australia had been able during the first three matches of this series to rely on openers Tim Paine and Shane Watson always making fifty stands.
But while Watson looked in superb touch in taking two successive fours off James Anderson and then cover-driving Stuart Broad to the boundary, Paine found runs harder to come by.
And, on eight, the wicketkeeper, trying to turn Bresnan legside, got a leading edge and Eoin Morgan at extra cover took the easy catch to leave Australia 33 for one in the 10th over.
Ponting though was quickly into his stride, leg-glancing and cover-driving successive Bresnan deliveries for authoritative boundaries.
All-rounder Watson followed up with an elegant straight driven six off paceman Stuart Broad.
But off-spinner Graeme Swann's happy knack of taking a wicket early in his spell continued when, to his third ball, Watson slog-swept him straight to Morgan at deep midwicket for 41, made off 54 balls with a six and five fours.
Australia's total of 73 for two nearly became 84 for three when Clarke, on five, saw a powerfully struck drive off Swann burst through the hands of Anderson at short extra-cover.