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Feb 22, 2013 at 07:16pm IST

Clarke's presence in the middle had a calming influence: Henriques

Chennai: Australia's Moises Henriques on Friday said that his skipper Michael Clarke's presence in the middle had a calming influence on the debutant, who signalled his arrival on the big stage with a crucial half-century on the opening day of the first Test against India here.

Henriques, who made 68 off 132 balls, was involved in a 151-run stand for the sixth wicket, which lifted Australia from 153 for five to 316 for seven by the end of day's play at the M A Chidambaram Stadium.

"The way Michael plays spin is different. He makes it easy down the wicket. I do not try and play as Michael does against spin. Playing with him helped me to be not nervous and I played calmly," Henriques told reporters.

Clarke's presence had a calming influence: Henriques

Henriques, who made 68 off 132 balls, was involved in a 151-run stand for the sixth wicket with Michael Clarke.

It was a hard grind for the 26-year-old allrounder, especially with six-wicket man Ravichandran Ashwin getting the ball to turn and bounce.

"I think Ashen gets motivated to spin all the balls where he gets more bounce. It is quite hard to get out smothering his deliveries. He does not bowl many bad balls either.

"He is a disciplined bowler. He changed his pace up well and he hits same length all the time. It is very hard to score off him," Henriques said. He felt that the loose soil could play some tricks on the fourth and fifth day.

"General wear and tear of energy obviously saps you out in the sun. I do not think there was sort of wearing any less or anything like that but the foot marks in the loose ground out there looked like a three-day wicket.

"Obviously the loose soil out there is going to play some tricks on the fourth and fifth days." The Aussie said that first hour on Saturday will be very crucial.

"The first hour is very important for us. At this stage, the game is very balanced. Michael is in amazing form and hope he gets his two hundred."

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