Apart from winning the test, Aussie captain Michael Clarke hopes his unbeaten double ton helps him earn respect from fans
Michael Clarke is not the most popular Australian captain in history. On Christmas Eve, he was booed by a strong contingent of Australians at a fun event in Melbourne. On Tuesday, he attracted a modest ovation from his home crowd here at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) when compared to the roars that Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting and VVS Laxman received. Bear in mind, it is the centenary SCG Test, a special occasion.
Michael Clarke celebrates after scoring a century at the Sydney Cricket
Ground yesterday. Pic/Getty Images
There are many theories behind Clarke's disapproval. Some reckon it was his publicised spats with Andrew Symonds and Simon Katich. Others feel it's because he's a product of the establishment, someone who was trained on how to deal with the Press five years before he took over the job. But, Clarke is not here to impress anyone. He has stamped his authority as captain.
For Clarke, earning the respect of fans and teammates is significant. Since his first Test series as full-time captain in Sri Lanka last August, Clarke has 824 runs from eight matches with four centuries to boot. Those numbers will rise today as the 30-year-old resumes on his overnight score of 251 not out. His effort has taken him into rare company, passing Sir Donald Don Bradman's 234 as the highest score ever made by a captain at the SCG. He also went past the best score by an Australian at the iconic venue -- 242 by Doug Walters against West Indies in 1968-69.
When asked what an innings like this would do for him in the long run, Clarke said: "Hopefully, it helps me continue to earn respect. That is all I can do, and most importantly that helps me put this team in a position to win another Test match. That is my goal -- to help Australia win as many games as we can," he told reporters after Australia drew stumps at 482-4 yesterday.
Not my best
However, Clarke rated his 151 at Cape Town last year as the best of his career. "This is my highest score ever, but I don't really know if it is my best ever. I was really proud of the 151 against South Africa; it came in really tough circumstances and that pitch did a lot more than this one did. But what makes me proud is I batted the whole day today," he said.
Former captain Ricky Ponting, who ended his two-year century drought by eating the SCG soil with a desperate lunge to the crease, felt that Clarke was a better batsman since becoming skipper. "His (Clarke) record would suggest that he has thrived as captain. It was fairly similar for me when I took over the job. I know my batting average went up a lot and Michael's has too, and will continue to if he keeps playing the way he has since becoming captain," Ponting said.
"What I've seen with Michael, like I was, he's got the ability to separate his batting from the captaincy. He's said he wants to stand up and lead from the front in the field and he has done that terrifically well," Ponting added.
Highest Test scores by captains vs India
333 by Graham Gooch at Lord's in 1990
England skipper Graham Gooch on his way to a triple hundred against
India in the Lord's Test of 1990.
242 by Clive Lloyd at Wankhede in 1975
Clive Lloyd in 1975. Pic/Getty Image
239 by Graham Dowling (NZ) at Christchurch in 1968
233 by Carl Hooper (WI) at Georgetown in 2002
219 by Kumar Sangakkara (SL) at Colombo (SSC) in 2010
204 by Greg Chappell (Aus) at Sydney in 1981
201 by Donald Bradman (Aus) at Adelaide in 1948