Michael Clarke's Test career in pictures
Farewell ClarkeMichael Clarke retired from ODI cricket handsomely top-scoring in the 2015 ICC World Cup final against New Zealand helping Australia clinch the sport’s biggest prize for the fifth time. He quit the T20 format on his own terms as well as he realised it was not suited to his style of technical batting, thus making way for the younger Australian players to have an opportunity in the national team.“For me, I've always said Test cricket is the ultimate for me,” Clarke said announcing his retirement from the T20 cricket. His dream of winning an Ashes on English soil might have remained unfulfilled but much like his ODI retirement, his Test career also ended on a winning note and as he pulls down curtains on his international career, he will go down in history as one of Australia’s best Test batsman. The statistics back that up. He is Australia’s fourth highest run-getter in Test cricket and lies fifth in terms of centuries scored. His captaincy record may not be up there with some of Australia’s big guns like Steve Waugh or his successor Ricky Ponting, but Clarke was known to back his instincts and always go for the win. His strong opinions on cricket matters didn’t go down well with everybody in the dressing room, but that’s what “The Pup” was all about. They were never selfish opinions but his stance regarding what he thought was right. The above sentiment was best put forward by Ponting after Clarke announced his decision to retire. Here’s what he had to say."Cricket takes all sorts of characters and Michael and I had our share of disagreements. But when it came down to it he loved the game and performed with distinction for Australia as batsman and captain, taking the leadership job at a challenging time. His statistics and longevity are right up there with the very best cricketers of all time.”Here’s out picture tribute to Clarke’s amazing career with a look at some of his most memorable moments in Test cricket.
#1 Century on Test debut, 2004
Michael Clarke made his debut for Australia against India at Bangalore in October 2004 a memorable one scoring a mammoth 151 in his first ever Test innings. With a first-class average below 40, his call up to the team in the longer format did raise some eyebrows, but Clarke gave the perfect reply with his bat.
Coming in at a not so comfortable 159/4, the innings helped Australia build a commanding first innings total of 474. The visitors went on to win the match by 217 runs and Clarke was rightly awarded the Man of the Match. That innings set the tone for the rest of the series which Australia won 2-1, their first Test series victory in India for over thirty years.
#2 6 wickets scalp against India, 2004
Clarke wasn’t done just yet in India. He made 400 runs in the four-match series, second only to Damien Martyn in the leading run-scorers for the series. But he signed off in style not with the bat but with the ball with figures that would have made even the legendary Shane Warne proud.
Yes, the pitch at Wankhede for the 4th Test match was not a good one, yet to pick up 6 wickets in an innings is never easy. His spell of 6.2-0-9-6 still couldn’t win the match for Australia, but it still remains one of the best bowling figures by a part-timer in Test cricket.
#3 Century on his first Test in Australia, 2004
Clarke continued the fine start to his Test career back home as well as he scored a century on his home debut in the first Test against the visiting New Zealand side at Brisbane. He thus became the only batsman to score centuries on both his home and away Test debuts.
That knock of 141 earned Clarke him the second Man of the Match award in just his 5th Test match. Not surprisingly he earned the Allan Border Medal for his splendid start to his Test career.
#4 Clarke bowls Australia to victory against India, 2008
Michael Clarke once again proved too hot to handle for the Indian batsmen and this time it clinched the victory for Australia, a highly unlikely one as well. The 2nd Test in India’s tour of Australia looked like heading to a draw with the visitors just needing to play out two overs to save the Test match with three wickets in hand.
Skipper Ricky Ponting gave the ball to Clarke and it resulted in one of the most dramatic finishes in cricket history. The left-armer picked up the wickets of Harbhajan Singh, RP Singh and Ishant Sharma to win the game for Australia. He thus emerged an unlikely hero having failed miserably with the bat with scores of 0 & 1 in the two innings.
#5 112 against Sri Lanka at Colombo, 2011
As we have seen before, Clarke had been making a habit of making his first’s truly memorable. He stayed true to that in his first full series as Australian Test skipper leading the relatively inexperienced side to a 1-0 victory in the three-match away Test series against Sri Lanka under tough conditions.
Clarke was a star with the bat scoring 60 & 23 in the low-scoring first Test match which Australia won. But his best knock came in the third Test match, where the hosts had build up a first innings lead of 157. Philip Hughes made a gritty 126, but when he was dismissed Australia were still struggling at 220-4 Clarke stepped up playing a captain's knock of 112, and along with Hussey saved the match and thus the series for the visitors.
#6 Triple century at the SCG
Clarke became the first Australian since Matthew Hayden and just the fourth overall in the nation’s long cricket history to score a triple century in Test cricket. He couldn’t have chosen a bigger occasion for it either – it was the 100th Test match at the iconic Sydney Cricket Ground and the knock of 329* became and still is the highest Test innings at the venue.
The innings was also the highest in a Test match between India and Australia and the hosts won the match by an innings and 68 runs. But Clarke was not yet finished with India.
#7 210 against India at Adelaide, 2012
Michael Clarke became only the third player in history, after the legendary Sir Donald Bradman and Wally Hammond, to score a triple century and double century in the same Test series. His knock of 210 in the first innings helped Australia whitewash the series 4-0 and Clarke was named the Man of the Series having scored 626 runs at an average of 125.20.
Clarke went on to score two more double centuries in 2012 thus becoming the only cricketer to score in excess of 200 four times in a calendar year and he won the 2013 ICC Cricketer of the Year award for his exploits.
#8 Leading Australia to a 5-0 Ashes triumph
Clarke’s last Ashes series might not have gone according to plan, but the one before it was as special as it comes. England were considered the favourites for their tour Down Under but Clarke and his boys decimated the visitors with a 5-0 whitewash.
Clarke scored centuries in the opening two Test matches to set the tone for Australia as they regained the Ashes after a gap of four years and Clarke earned plaudits for his aggressive captaincy, that filtered down to his side as well.
#9 Hughes\' loss
Michael Clarke was in an emotional mess heading into the 1stTest match against Australia at the Adelaide Oval. Philip Hughes, his close friend and whom he described as his younger brother, had passed away just a few days before after a head injury. Clarke was also battling fitness issues and only just about managed to win the race to make it to the playing eleven,
However, he showed no signs of any distress, mental or physical, as he scored a brilliant 128 and along with David Warner and Steven Smith set up the victory in what eventually turned out to be a close match.
#10 International cricket retirement
Australia’s series loss against England was going to have serious repercussions, that was a certainty. But the biggest casualty was the skipper himself. The manner of defeat in the fourth Ashes Test might have accelerated the decision to quit, but with continuing injury issues and a disastrous tour with the bat, Clarke was forced to step down.
He tried his best to control his emotions while announcing his retirement, but it was all too evident how much he was going to miss the international arena. The cricket world will also miss this terrific batsman, that’s for sure.