Michael Clarke’s unbeaten century guided Australia to a draw against England in the third Ashes Test at Edgbaston here on Monday.The result kept Australia’s defence of the Ashes alive, although it also meant England remained 1-0 up in the five-match series ahead of the fourth Test at Headingley, which starts on Friday.

The Australian vice-captain was 103 not out in a second innings total of 375 for five, a lead of 262, when a draw was agreed in the fifth day’s final session without England needing to bat again in this rain-marred match.

Together with left-hander Marcus North (96) he shared a fifth-wicket stand of 185 that made the game safe.The duo had come together with Australia just 48 runs in front at 161 for four and still in danger of defeat after Michael Hussey was caught behind for 64 off paceman Stuart Broad before lunch.

North was in sight of his second century of the series when he was brilliantly caught right-handed by a leaping James Anderson in the gully off Broad to end a 159-ball innings featuring 15 fours.But Clarke, who made 136 in England’s 115-run second Test win at Lord’s, pressed on to a hundred in 192 balls in nearly five hours with the match ending when he pulled occasional medium-pacer Ravi Bopara for his 14th four to go to three figures.

Clarke did have two lucky breaks in the 90s. On 92, a ball from Broad flicked the outside of his off-stump without disturbing the bails. And Clarke was caught by Anderson at slip on 96 off a Bopara no-ball.He’d previously been dropped on 38 off a difficult chance by England captain Andrew Strauss.

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