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When it's India, Clarke is king!

Last updated on: January 5, 2012 17:56 IST

When it's India, Clarke is king!

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Bikash Mohapatra

Even as Clarke's many fans celebrate his mammoth hundred, Bikash Mohapatra takes a look at a few instances when the 30-year-old played a crucial role in Tests against India.

Michael Clarke has grabbed all the headlines in the last two days.
 
And, rightly so!
 
Australia's captain scored an unbeaten 329 in the second Test against India in Sydney (his home ground) and then, rather unselfishly, decided to declare the innings at 659-4 to give his bowlers ample chance to seal an unassailable 2-0 lead in the four-match series.
 
Despite missing out on a few personal records, owing to the declaration, the 30-year-old still notched a few.
 
For starters, his was only the 25th triple century in the history of Test cricket. Further, it was the highest individual score at the Sydney Cricket Ground (hosting its 100th Test) and the highest ever scored by an Australia captain (surpassing the legendary Don Bradman). Besides, there're no points for guessing, this was Clarke's highest Test score.
 
The knock completed a full circle for the batsman against India, a team against whom he made his Test debut and has inadvertently been a thorn in the flesh since.
 
Even as Clarke's many fans celebrate his mammoth hundred, we take a look at a few instances when the 30-year-old played a crucial role in Tests against India.


Image: Michael Clarke kisses his helmet after scoring a triple hundred in Sydney
Photographs: Getty Images

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Clarke's maiden innings yielded 151

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It was his Test debut. The opening Test of the 2004 series.
 
Australia were sans regular captain Ricky Ponting -- Adam Gilchrist was the stand-in skipper -- but were fortunate to be playing at a venue, the M A Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore, where they had a winning head-to-head against the hosts.
 
Opting to bat first after winning the toss, the visitors were in a spot of bother (at 149-4) when their captain walked in to join a Test debutant. The duo put on 177 runs for the fifth wicket as Australia amassed a formidable 474 runs in their first essay.
 
Clarke's maiden innings yielded 151, perfectly complementing Gilchrist's 104. It was a significant effort.
 
Australia went on to win the match by a whopping 217 runs.


Image: Michael Clarke of Australia acknowledges the crowd after being dismissed for 151 during day two of the First Test between India and Australia played at the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore
Photographs: Getty Images

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Clarke contibuted in both innings as Aussies sealed a historic series win

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Having managed just 61 runs in his three innings following his impressive debut, Clarke's next significant contribution with the blade came in the third Test of the same series, at the VCA stadium, in Nagpur.
 
The young batsman scored 91 in the first essay, putting on 90 for the sixth wicket with innings top-scorer Damien Martyn (114), as Australia aggregated 398.
 
The home team was bowled out for just 185, with Clarke very much active on the field, picking three catches.
 
He returned to score a second straight half century (73) in the second innings, putting on 148 for the fourth-wicket with Martyn (97).
 
Australia declared at 329 for five. India was bowled out for 200, giving Australia a mammoth 342-run win and a first series triumph in over 30 years on Indian soil.


Image: Michael Clarke of Australia in action during day two of the Third Test between India and Australia played at the VCA Stadium on October 27, 2004 in Nagpur
Photographs: Getty Images

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Clarke sealed an Australian win in the 'Monkeygate' Test

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Clarke's prowess with the bat is well-acknowledged. However, his left-arm bowling has seldom got the credit.

Against India, it is another matter altogether.

For those interested in stats, 13 of Clarke's 23 Test wickets have come against India, including a career-best 6 for 9 at the Wankhede in 2004.

However, the bowling performance which deserves particular mention is the three wickets in five balls of his second over in the corresponding Test of the 2008 series, infamous for the 'Monkeygate' scandal.

Controversy aside, it was a competitive match till Clarke, having failed with the bat in both the innings, settled it when he dismissed Harbhajan Singh (7), RP Singh (0) and Ishant Sharma (0) to help Australia to a 122-run win, giving the hosts an unassailable 2-0 lead.


Image: Michael Clarke of Australia celebrates taking the wicket of RP Singh of India for lbw during day of the Second Test match between Australia and India at Sydney
Photographs: Getty Images

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Clarke helped his team save the Kotla Test

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Finally, there is the third Test of the 2008 series at the Ferozshah Kotla.
 
Australia was already 0-1 down in the series, having suffered a humiliating defeat in the preceding Test in Mohali.
 
To make matters worse, the home team, batting first, notched a mammoth 613-7 decl., with Gautam Gambhir (206) and VVS Laxman (200 not out) making significant contributions.
 
It was Clarke's 112 that helped Australia mount a competitive response, scoring 577 in their first essay and holding on to a draw in what became Anil Kumble's final Test.


Image: Michael Clarke (L) of Australia shows his relief alongside Brett Lee after reaching his century during day four of the Third Test match between India and Australia in Ferozshah Kotla
Photographs: Getty Images

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