Australia in South Africa 2005-06 March 20, 2006

Gilchrist backs repeat performance from Clark

Cricinfo staff



Stuart Clark's stunning debut was the third-best by an Australian bowler © Getty Images

Adam Gilchrist is confident Stuart Clark can continue to play the role of Glenn McGrath's replcaement successfully even if the second-Test pitch at Durban does not offer the same assistance as Cape Town. Clark sealed the third-best debut by an Australian bowler with 9 for 89 in the seven-wicket win on Sunday and made sure the side coped without their leading bowler of the past decade, who is looking after his wife during her cancer treatment.

"We did make the comment during the game how probably unplayable Glenn McGrath would have been on that wicket, but Stuey certainly took up the reins in grand fashion and we're all really thrilled for him," Gilchrist, who took six catches in the match, told AAP. "Stuey beat the bat a lot and bowled a very tight line and length. He seemed to release from high up and was pretty straight, stump to stump almost."

Gilchrist said Clark shared similarities with his New South Wales team-mate but refused to anoint him as "the new McGrath". "I don't want to burden him with that, but he certainly filled the void beautifully in this game," Gilchrist said. "Stuey knows the challenge is there to repeat that on any surface, and I'm sure he's keen to take that on."

The Cape Town pitch helped the fast bowlers throughout the game and played a part in Clark's hauls of 5 for 55 and 4 for 34. At the end of the match Clark was surprised by the attention to his Man-of-the-Match performance.

"I couldn't even have dreamt it was going to be like this," Clark said in The Australian. "If I got a wicket I would've been happy. To get nine? I don't know what to say. The phone's been ringing non-stop. I had to turn it off the other night because it was ringing too much." The second Test starts at Durban on Friday.