Australian skipper, Michael Clarke today achieved a very rare feat and became only the second batsman in modern day era to score three double centuries in a year, equaling Ricky Ponting's record. The only other person to have done the same is the legendary Don Bradman. Looking at the three names, one can see that Clarke is in an elite club.
The three also share some similarities. All three were right hand batsman who played for Australia and were also the captains of their teams. They all batted in the middle order and were known for their stroke play. But the thing that is most common is that all three were vital members forming the backbone of the Australian team during their prime. Ponting is now well passed that stage and Pup has stepped up, to take his place.
Clarke has transcended to a new level ever since he was bestowed captaincy and has looked unbeatable. On a day four track, facing the world's best bowling attack, he just went on and on, helping himself the runs. The South Africans were left bamboozled. As Bryan Coverdale writes, 'match-altering, lead-from-the-front innings have become Australia captain Michael Clarke's trademark over the past year' and it is this new trademark of the Australian captain that suddenly makes this inexperienced Australian batting order, with a couple of names well past their prime, still one to fear. If the world's best bowling attack managed to get just a wicket from the day and that too, from a run out, then that tells you something about this team's middle order.
Ed Cowan who scored his maiden century today looked pretty solid and it seems that Australia have a bright prospect in him. South Africa have to do something special now, as Australia try to push for a victory on the last day. Clarke has finally become a big dog.
Skipper Clarke is now a very serious run machine and that is certainly very, very good news for Australia.