Ton-up Clarke in smashing form before Ashes opener

Saturday, 6 July 2013 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

REUTERS: Australia captain Michael Clarke fired an Ashes warning to England before next week’s first test, smashing a 98-ball 124 on the penultimate day of their final warm-up game against Worcestershire on Thursday. Clarke led the way, and Phil Hughes chipped in with 86, as Australia declared on 344-5 to set the county side an unlikely victory target of 457. By the close, the home side had made 64-1 with the man out Nick Compton who told reporters on Wednesday, after scoring 79 in this game, that he had not been given “a fair crack of the whip” by England. Compton, replaced as opener by Yorkshire’s Joe Root in England’s final warm-up game with Essex this week, had scored two test centuries in New Zealand in March, but struggled in the return series against the Kiwis. His being replaced in the Essex match, which England won comfortably, would indicate he is out of the reckoning for an opener’s slot when the first Ashes test gets underway at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, on July 10. Compton, 30, is playing for Worcester as a guest but he also hit 81 for his home county, Somerset, against the tourists last month.