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Michael Clarke, Brad Haddin put England through the grind

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Michael Clarke might as well have told England to get ready for a broken f---in' spirit.

Clarke and Brad Haddin, united as captain and vice-captain when Australia were at rock bottom earlier this year, are looking more and more like the leaders who could bring back the Ashes after demoralising the tourists at Adelaide Oval on Friday.

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Clarke-Haddin partnership breaks English hearts

Australian skipper Michael Clarke and his deputy Brad Haddin score 116 runs in 29 overs.

After Clarke, having plundered 148 in a partnership with Haddin that tilted the series further towards Australia, whistled from the dressing room to declare the first innings closed at 9-570, spearhead Mitchell Johnson resumed his ferocious assault on England's batsmen.

The in-form left-armer took just three balls to crank his pace beyond 150km/h on a pitch that looked docile when Jimmy Anderson and co were bowling on it. Johnson's first ball to Michael Carberry, still smarting at dropping a crucial catch on the first evening, was a bouncer that forced him to duck.

Johnson then bowled Alastair Cook with a delivery that beat the England captain for pace and swung late, reducing the tourists to 1-9 in the third over of the innings.

That brought boyish Joe Root to the crease for a nasty session before stumps, and it was just as well he was wearing protective padding because Johnson crashed a ball into his chest. There was no respite from the Australians, who followed up their hostile bowling with words and glares for the English, who were 1-35 at stumps.


It could have been worse for England; Carberry could have been run out when Root took off for a panicky single and he could have been adjudged lbw to the last ball of the day, but the Australians decided not to review. "Myself, 'Watto' and Michael all thought it was going down leg, and Mitch was exactly the same," Haddin said. "As we saw when we came off, we were wrong."

The 200-run partnership between Clarke and Haddin on the second day vindicated the selectors' decision to bring back the 36-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman as Clarke's deputy when the Test team was getting thrashed and the dressing room was divided following the disastrous tour of India this year.

Their game-changing stand also drove England to despair at the dropped catches that cost the tourists a total of 286 runs.

England turned up with the Australians at 5-273, hoping to bowl them out for 350. But Haddin and Clarke put on 116 in the first session. "We thought that was going to be the best time to bat," Haddin said. "The ball was only 10 overs old so we thought we were going to have a good opportunity to get the game moving forward in that first session and keep the scoreboard moving."

Hostilities between the teams threatened to spill over again when a front-foot no-ball from all-rounder Ben Stokes cost England the wicket of Haddin on 51. After Stokes' celebration was interrupted, and Haddin called back, there was an angry exchange of words between the pair at the change of overs, and the umpire intervened.

Haddin accentuated the tourists' pain by going on to make his fourth Test century and his third against England. Haddin was instrumental in Australia's first-Test win at the Gabba, and he was belligerent again in Adelaide, striking five sixes off the spinners, including a couple of consecutive slog-sweeps off Graeme Swann on his way to 118.

Most importantly, Haddin was a solid partner for Clarke. It was often said during Australia's hellish losing streak that the captain got a sore back from carrying teammates, but with Haddin's help and half centuries from Chris Rogers, Shane Watson, George Bailey and Ryan Harris, he has been able to share the load.

"He's such a good player of spin bowling, so quick on his feet," Haddin said. "You can definitely make a good argument [that Clarke is the best batsman in the world.] Once he gets past 20 he tends to go on and get some really good hundreds."

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