It's often said that the Australian cricket captain is second only to the Prime Minister as the nation's most important person. It is Australia Day today. And Michael Clarke achieved a feat yesterday that no captain, let alone Australian, had accomplished in 135 years of Test cricket.
By scoring 210 against India here at the Adelaide Oval yesterday, Clarke became the only captain in history to score a triple and double century in the same series. Sir Donald Bradman and Wally Hammond are the only other batsmen to have scored a double and triple in the same Test series.
Skipper Clarke's thirst for runs against the hapless Indians was matched only by his predecessor, Ricky Ponting. The duo put on 386 runs, at better than a run-a-minute. Their partnership is now the 4th highest by any Australian pair, and highest-ever at Adelaide.
Clarke, since his first series as full-time captain last September, has scored 1130 runs at an average of 66.47. Such has been his domination since taking over as captain that only Bradman made more hundreds in his first dozen Tests as leader. Bradman scored eight centuries in his first 12 Tests in charge. Clarke has five while Steve Waugh, Greg Chappell and Bill Lawry all made four.
Clarke though is not overawed by these staggering figures. "I didn't know (about the accomplishments). But, it's nice to have scored more runs. One thing I've never really been too bothered about is statistics and records. It's about playing the game.... trying to do whatever you can to help your team win. If records come along, it's very special," he said.
Clarke said his bowlers were in for tough times despite restricting India to 61-2. "That wicket's very flat. It's going to take a hell of a lot of work to take 20 wickets on it."
Clarke, who added 288 runs with Ponting at Sydney, said he enjoyed batting with the Tasmanian. "It's always nice to see us both scoring runs when we bat together. We've known each other for a long time. Both of us were disappointed with our series last summer (against England) and we've worked hard on our games to improve," he said.