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Captain Clarke puts team before records

Last updated on: January 5, 2012 17:54 IST

Captain Clarke puts team before records

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Michael Clarke never considered batting on beyond his mammoth unbeaten 329 to chase more records rather than declaring Australia's first innings in the second Test against India on Thursday.

- Scorecard

The Australia captain had Don Bradman's highest innings of 334, subsequently matched by Mark Taylor, within his grasp and, on a benign wicket, could conceivably gone on to challenge Brian Lara's World record unbeaten 400.

- Images from the third day's play




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'I didn't have Bradman and Taylor's score in my head'

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For Clarke, though, the 10-hour, 17-minute innings was just a means to putting his team in a position to win the Test match and take a 2-0 lead in the series.

"I didn't have Don Bradman and Mark Taylor's score in my head whatsoever," he said.

"It was about trying to get the team to a total which I thought was a really good for a declaration and then get out there and try have a crack and take a couple of wickets this afternoon. That's all I was thinking about."




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'The most important thing for me is to win the Test'

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"I'm stoked to have managed to make 300-odd runs today in this Test match, but the most important thing for me now is that we win the Test and that was a big reason for my declaration," he added.

"It's about putting the team first, that's why we play, that's what I love most about this game, seeing this team win. If I had thought it was best for the team to continue to bat, I would have continued to bat."



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Clarke is sixth Australian to achieve the feat

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Clarke reached 300 runs just after lunch on the third day of the second Test, recording only the 25th triple century in Test cricket.

The right-hander flicked the ball through midwicket off the bowling of Ishant Sharma for the 37th four of his marathon innings to become the 21st cricketer to reach the milestone.

The 30-year-old joined Bradman (twice), Bob Simpson, Bob Cowper, Taylor and Matthew Hayden as the sixth Australian to achieve the feat.




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'It's just the mental application that you need to have'

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The triple century came from 432 balls in 567 minutes and also included one six. He added another two fours and 29 runs before drawing the innings to a close on 659-4 with the 14th highest score ever in Test cricket next to his name.

"I've never batted that long in any form of the game in any team, so that was the hardest thing for me," he said.

"Physically, I felt pretty fresh but it's just the mental application that you need to have."



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Clarke surpasses England's Foster at SCG

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Clarke had already established the highest score in 100 Tests at the Sydney Cricket Ground, his home stadium, when he passed the 287 scored by England's Tip Foster in 1902-3 just before lunch.

A reporter said that Clarke's nickname of 'Pup' was perhaps no longer suitable after such an innings and asked Mike Hussey, whose innings of 150 was oveshadowed by his captain's feat, for a suggested replacement.

"Dog?" said the 37-year-old, to much laughter.

"I'll take dog," laughed Clarke, who only a year ago was booed onto the field at the SCG during the Ashes debacle. "I've been called a lot worse... I'll take that as a compliment."




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