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Clarke earns fans' support after ton

AFP
Dec 03, 2011 at 06:15pm IST

Brisbane: Michael Clarke chuckled at the thought of the standing ovation he received from the home crowd after his century put Australia in a powerful position against New Zealand in the first Gabba Test on Saturday.

Almost a year ago he was booed by local fans in a one-day international win against England as he came out to bat at the same Brisbane ground.

But this time the Australian skipper was given a rapturous send-off as he left the field following his charmed knock of 139.

Clarke earns home fans' support after ton

Michael Clarke struck his 17th ton in the five-day format during the Brisbane Test against New Zealand.

"It's always nice that your home fans support you. That's nice, yeah," Clarke laughed after Saturday's third day stumps.

"It's probably a little bit of an expectation. You would hope that you get support.

"For me, it's about scoring runs and helping this team win games of cricket. Hopefully, I can continue to earn the public's respect."

Although Clarke casts a genial and polite image, he polarises opinion among the country's cricket followers, with some people disapproving of his perceived glamorous lifestyle.

On the day Clarke took over as Test captain from Ricky Ponting last January, a newspaper poll showed only eight percent of respondents favoured the appointment.

The Kiwis made it easier for Clarke on his way to his 17th Test century.

Wicketkeeper Reece Young and Jesse Ryder spilled catches, both off the luckless paceman Doug Bracewell.

And Clarke was also bowled off an inside edge late Friday only to get a reprieve when Bracewell was found to have overstepped for a no-ball.

He made the Black Caps pay dearly in a 108-run sixth wicket stand with Brad Haddin for Australia to take control of the match.

Clarke was out on the fourth ball after tea, caught at deep backward square by Tim Southee off Chris Martin, ending his 368-minute stay which included 19 fours and a six.

It was Clarke's fourth Test hundred against the Kiwis and second in his last five Test innings.

"Little bit of luck, which obviously goes a long way. Most importantly, a really good day from us from the team," he said.

"Once I got that life on 20-odd, it was important for me to go on and make a big score for the team.

"It's been nice to make a few runs. I've needed them after the summer I had last year (against England), so since taking over the captaincy I've got a couple of hundreds, which is nice."

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