ADELAIDE, Australia – Australia captain Michael Clarke became the first captain in test history to notch a triple and a double century in the same series by scoring 210 against India on Wednesday, completing a remarkable turnaround in his fortunes and those of his team.
Clarke’s commanding innings at Adelaide Oval, completed in just 275 balls, put Australia in control of the fourth test and in a powerful position to complete a 4-0 series sweep.
He shared a record 386-run stand with former captain Ricky Ponting, who made 221.
So impressive has been the form of Clarke and Ponting that it seems remarkable that they entered this series with both fans and experts calling for their removal from the team.
Coming off a humiliating test loss on home soil against New Zealand, the sharp criticism of Clarke, Ponting and other besides was perhaps warranted, particularly bearing in mind the bitter home Ashes series defeat the previous summer.
In that series against England, Clarke scored 193 runs (average 21.44) and Ponting 113 runs (16.14) over the five tests, prompting Ponting’s removal as captain.
“Both of us were disappointed with our series last summer,” Clarke said. “We’ve worked hard on our games to improve. It’s nice to be scoring some (runs) this summer.
“We know each other’s games quite well so we can certainly communicate to what we’re seeing, if we feel like we can help.
“We speak a lot when we bat about what the other person has seen, to get help and advice and to keep both of us going and this innings was no different.”
Australia declared on 600-7, and then had India struggling to 61-2 at stumps.
Clarke has amassed 589 runs (average 147.25) in this series, with a possible second innings here to come.
Clarke’s double ton here followed his career best 329 in the second test in Sydney making him the third player in the history to reach 300 and 200 in a series. The others were Australia’s Don Bradman, who achieved this twice in the 1930 and 1934 Ashes series, and England’s Walter Hammond against New Zealand in 1932/33.
“One thing I’ve never really been too bothered about is statistics and records,” Clarke said.
“It’s about playing the game. It’s about trying to do whatever you can to help your team win. If records come along like that, it’s very special.”
The highlight of the series had been the parternships between Clarke and Ponting.
In Sydney, the pair shared 288 runs, again for the fourth wicket and helped Australia set up an innings and 68-run win.
“It’s always nice to see us both scoring runs when we bat together,” Clarke added.
“We’ve known each other for a long time, played a lot of cricket together. It’s nice to spend some time in the middle.”