Clarke joins Bradman, Hammond with big scores


Michael Clarke joined Don Bradman and Wally Hammond as the only players to hit double and triple centuries in the same series on Wednesday as Australia made India suffer in the fourth Test. The Australian captain followed up the unbeaten 329 he made in the second Test in Sydney with 210 at the Adelaide Oval as the hosts declared on 604 for seven on the second day against the despairing Indians.
There was more misery for the tourists before the close as Australia snared key batsmen Virender Sehwag (18) and Rahul Dravid (1) to leave them in trouble at 61 for two with three days to play. Clarke and Ricky Ponting (221) put on 386 for the fourth wicket, the fourth highest Test partnership of all time for Australia — with all three bigger stands featuring the great Bradman. But the skipper played down his achievement in matching Bradman and Englishman Hammond, both regarded as among the finest batsmen ever to play the game. “I didn’t know that, but it’s very nice. It’s very special, no doubt about it. One thing I’ve never been very keen on is statistics and records,” Clarke said. “It’s about helping your team win and, if things like that come along, it’s very special.” Clarke said he and Ponting were keen to cash in on the chance to post big innings during their partnership, which lasted more than six hours. “When you are doing well, you need to make big scores because the other side of that is going to come around again and you’re going to have some failures,” he said. “It’s a tough game, it’s the toughest game in the world, in my opinion. The captain said he and Ponting had been disappointed with their contributions in last year’s Ashes series, which Australia lost, and were keen to occupy the crease against India for as long as possible. “It’s always nice to see both of us scoring runs and to bat together, we’ve known each other for a long time, played a lot of cricket together and it’s nice to spend some time in the middle,” he said. “I guess both of us were disappointed with our series last summer but we’ve worked hard on our games to improve and it’s nice to score some runs this summer. “We know each other’s games quite well and we can both communicate what we’re seeing out there.”
Umesh Yadav bowled Clarke with the third ball after lunch to end his 380-minute, 275-ball vigil, in which he hit 26 fours and one six. So far in this series Clarke has amassed 589 runs at an average of 147.25 with Ponting following up his 134 in Sydney to have 484 runs at 96.80. Ponting fell short of his highest score of 242 at Adelaide when he was caught in the deep by Sachin Tendulkar off Zaheer Khan.