Sydney: Australia captain Michael Clarke bounced back from a six-week injury lay-off with a stylish 88 for his state side New South Wales on Wednesday in an ominous sign for England ahead of the Ashes.
Clarke has been plagued by chronic back problems since he was a teenager and was ruled out of Australia’s ongoing one-day tour to India so he could rest and undergo intensive treatment.
At one point, he feared he could miss the first Test against England starting on November 21 but made better-than-expected progress, launching his comeback in a Sheffield Shield clash against Tasmania in Sydney, scoring 88 off 190 balls.
The 32-year-old — widely seen as Australia’s best batsman — played a watchful innings, facing 103 balls for his half-century, before being caught by Clive Rose off paceman Sam Rainbird’s bowling late in the day after spending valuable time in the middle.
Clarke is hoping to play in all three of New South Wale’s Shield matches leading into the first Ashes Test in Brisbane.