Double-centurion Clarke seeks fans' respect

Michael Clarke said he hoped to earn some respect from home fans after posting the highest score by an Australian against India in the second Test in Sydney on Wednesday.

Clarke has battled to win over the Australian cricket public since taking on the Test captaincy and a year ago he was booed as he came out to bat in a one-day international against England in Brisbane.

But he earned the fans' adulation on Wednesday with an unbeaten 251 as Australia built an imposing 482 for four at second day stumps to hold a lead of 291 with six wickets intact and three days to play.

Records toppled for Clarke as he surpassed Doug Walters' 242 as the highest score by a home batsman on the Sydney Cricket Ground, set back in 1969 against the West Indies.

Clarke and Ricky Ponting (134) put on the biggest partnership -- 288 runs -- for any Australian wicket against India to leave the dispirited tourists with a mountain to climb to save the four-Test series after going down by 122 runs in last week's opener in Melbourne.

It was Clarke's 18th century in his 78th Test and fourth against India and bettered his previous Test best 168 against New Zealand in March 2010.

Although Clarke casts a genial and polite image, he polarises opinion among Australia's cricket followers, with some people disapproving of his perceived glamorous lifestyle.

On the day Clarke took over as Test captain from Ponting, a newspaper poll showed only eight percent of respondents favoured the appointment.

"Hopefully it helps me continue to earn respect. That's all I can do," Clarke said after his supreme batting performance.

"Most importantly it puts this team in another good position to win another Test match. That's our goal, that's my goal to help Australia win as many games as I can.

"One of the things Punter (Ponting) taught me before I got the captaincy was as a leader, you need to make sure you're standing up on the field. You need to make sure you're leading from the front and scoring runs."

Ponting praised Clarke's unconquered innings and said he was flourishing in the role as Australian captain, with his fourth hundred in 10 Tests as skipper.

"When I first took over my batting average went up a lot and Michael's has and will continue to if he keeps playing the way he has since he's been captain," Ponting said.

"He's said he wants to stand up and lead from the front on the field and he's done that terrifically well."

Clarke said he was especially pleased to have lasted the whole of the second day at the crease, adding 204 to his overnight 47.

"What makes me proud is that I batted the whole day, that's something I've always tried to do and haven't done very often, so that's very satisfying to bat out a full day," he said.

You May Like



    Leave a Reply