Michael Clarke scored a patient 112, and was involved in two very significant partnerships today, adding 73 with Shane Watson for the fifth wicket, and a further 106 for the seventh with Cameron White, to enable Australia to comfortably avoid the follow-on and reach a sizable score of 577, just 36 shy of India.

Clarke used his feet superbly to the spinners and was not afraid to drive over the infield when it was safe. When the wearying bowlers erred, he looked for value, and a pulled six over midwicket when Mishra dropped short was a perfectly sensible stroke. But the majority of Clarke's runs were just that - run - as he coolly guided balls through gaps and pushed Australia past the follow-on mark and towards safety.

Clarke's century was made possible by some poor Indian fielding; he was dropped thrice on his way to his hundred. The first came in the fourth over of the morning when Clarke drove Amit Mishra airily towards mid-off. For a shorter man it might have been a tough chance; for Ishant it was a regulation opportunity and it slipped through the hands that reached only slightly above his head. Clarke was on 21 at the time. When he was in his 90's, Clarke top-edged an attempted sweep to midwicket, where the ball bounced out of VVS Laxman's hands like they were a trampoline. When Mishra grassed Clarke at deep midwicket in Sehwag's next over it was clear it was Clarke's day.

all courtesy: cricinfo