NSW v Tasmania, Sheffield Shield, Sydney November 17, 2009

Clarke delivers in promising comeback

Cricinfo staff

New South Wales 3 for 290 (Clarke 92*, Jaques 66, Katich 62, Khawaja 51*) v Tasmania

The good news for New South Wales was Michael Clarke, Simon Katich, Phil Jaques and Usman Khawaja all made solid starts, but the situation wasn't as cheery for Phillip Hughes, who failed in his last hit-out before the first Test team is named. Tasmania kept running into the Blues on the opening day at the SCG and were rewarded in the first two sessions before Clarke and Khawaja took the hosts to 3 for 290 at stumps.

With the squad to face West Indies being announced on Thursday, Clarke and Katich both had useful stays but Hughes' final chance to increase his chances of being at the Gabba went when he played-on to Luke Butterworth on 12. How Clarke pulls up after the innings will also be important for the national team as he trials his back following a two-month lay-off.

Clarke, the Test vice-captain, nearly ran-out Katich early in his innings but recovered his poise to post a valuable half-century and lift his side through a delicate period. He finished with an unbeaten 92, a much better return than his 8 in the one-dayer on Sunday, while Khawaja was not out on 51. Khawaja is rated so highly by his state that he is playing ahead of David Warner, who breezed to 92 off 79 balls for New South Wales' 2nd XI in Perth.

Like Hughes, Jaques (66) is also hoping for a return to Australian colours in the future and he had a couple of chances before falling to a top edge off Butterworth, which was taken by a juggling Jon Wells at square leg. Katich, the Test opener, was back at No. 3 for his state and chipped in with 62 before falling to a catch behind off Jason Krejza to the final ball before tea.