Michael Clarke © Getty Images
Michael Clarke will be searching for an away Ashes victory for the first time in over a decade © Getty Images

Canterbury: Australia captain Michael Clarke gave an entertaining batting ‘clinic’ after deciding against enforcing the follow-on in the Ashes tour opener against Kent at Canterbury on Saturday. READ: Mitchell Johnson helps Australians take huge 1st innings lead vs Kent

At tea on the third day of four, Australia were 132 for two in their second innings — a lead of 359 runs. Shane Watson was 27 not out and Mitchell Marsh eight not out. Earlier, Kent were dismissed for 280 in reply to Australia’s first innings 507 for eight declared — a deficit of 227 runs. Left-arm fast bowler Johnson, who took three wickets on Friday, finished with figures of four for 56 in 18 lively overs. READ”Sky Sports and ‘We didn’t Start the Fire’: What do the words mean?

Clarke then opted for more batting practice, promoting himself to open the tourists’ second innings alongside Chris Rogers. On a sun-drenched day, in front of a near-capacity crowd, Rogers and Clarke were largely untroubled during a first-wicket stand of 91 on a still good pitch before off-spinner Adam Riley struck twice to remove both batsmen. READ: Rob Key feels playing Australia is excellent learning experience for Kent

Left-hander Rogers, who made 84 in the first innings, had got to 45 when, advancing to drive Riley, he got an outside edge and was caught at point. Clarke was in sight of his second fifty in this match when, on 47, he lofted Riley straight to Ben Harmison, younger brother of former Ashes-winner Stephen, at long-on. READ: Ashes 2015: The likes of Joe Root and Steven Smith will dominate series

The Aussie skipper batted for 98 minutes and faced 60 balls including eight fours. Kent, bottom of the Second Division of the County Championship, resumed Saturday on 203 for five. Johnson had been the pick of Australia’s attack in taking three wickets that belied the docile nature of the pitch. READ: Alastair Cook: Ashes 2015 win would by my ‘best achievement’

But it was fellow paceman Ryan Harris, bidding to force his way into Ashes-holders Australia’s attack for the first Test against England in Cardiff from July 8, who struck the first blow Saturday when he had Billings caught behind without adding to his overnight score. READ: Ashes 2015: Australia will need Mitchells to fire to retain urn in England after 14 years

Adam Ball, however, took the attack to Australia, but on 45, possibly carried away by his success, he hooked Harris (two for 51) to Peter Siddle at deep square leg. Australia-born but England-qualified Mitchell Claydon, dropped on nine by diving wicketkeeper Brad Haddin off Siddle, then fell for 10 when medium-pacer Mitchell Marsh held a sharp caught and bowled chance. Tailenders Matt Hunn (18 not out) and Ivan Thomas (13) hung in against Australia’s spinners before the latter was caught at mid-on off leg-break bowler Fawad Ahmed to end the innings. READ: Shaun Marsh unequipped to handle swinging ball; could get exposed during Ashes 2015