Aussie setback as Clarke falls in last over

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Australia's Ricky Ponting plays a shot during the fourth day of the second Ashes Test against England on Monday.

ADELAIDE, Australia - Australia suffered a massive blow with the loss of key batsman Michael Clarke in the final over Monday to leave them facing an uphill battle to salvage the second Ashes Test against England.

Clarke looked set to go to stumps leading a fighting rearguard action at the Adelaide Oval only to fall to a catch close to the wicket off part-time spinner Kevin Pietersen, with only four balls left of the fourth day.

Clarke had appeared to have recaptured his best form after cheap dismissals in Brisbane and the Adelaide first innings before he was out for 80.

At stumps Australia, chasing 375 runs to make England bat again, were 238 for four with Mike Hussey the not out batsman on 44.

Clarke was initially given not out and refused to walk off until England called for a referral and replays showed that the ball had come off his bat to Alastair Cook fielding close in.

"Just want to apologise for not walking off the ground tonight when I hit the ball. I was just so disappointed, my emotions got best of me," Clarke said via Twitter after play.

England spinner Graeme Swann, who looms as his team's major weapon on Tuesday's final day, said it was a significant wicket for the tourists.

"It's a massive bonus for us. It was tough going for us in the last session, their two best players against spin at crease, both playing well," he said.

"Sometimes you need a bit of inspiration and who else but KP (Pietersen) to come on and give you it."

(Agence France-Presse)