\'Pup\' Michael Clarke\'s annus mirabilis earns Bradman comparisons

Reuters Posted: Nov 23, 2012 at 1114 hrs
Sydney No name is more evocative in Australian cricket than Donald Bradman and merely to be mentioned in the same sentence as the 20th century great is the highest praise that can be bestowed on a batsman.

To have actually outdone the batting master, as Michael Clarke did on Thursday on the Adelaide Oval ground that Bradman called home for much of his career, summoned up special plaudits.

One year in Bradman\'s company as Clarke bats and bats and bats, read the headline on the front page of the Australian newspaper on Friday, while the Daily Telegraph led with: Aussie skipper Michael Clarke pushes Proteas and Donald Bradman aside.

The Australia captain\'s unbeaten 224 on the opening day of the second test against South Africa at the Adelaide Oval made him the first batsman to score four double centuries in a calendar year.

Bradman managed three in 1930 and Ricky Ponting matched the feat in 2003 but a fourth placed the 31-year-old, still known as pup for his youthful enthusiasm when he first burst onto the test stage, out on his own.

It was actually hard to imagine Clarke getting out again, short of natural disaster or divine intervention, such is his certainty, fluency and apparent invulnerability at the crease, Gideon Haigh wrote in the Australian.

Among myriad records, he became the first batsman to score four double or triple centuries in a year. Donald Bradman and Ricky Ponting managed three. That is the company Clarke is now keeping, and he does not appear out of place.

At close of play on Thursday with Australia on 482 for five, Clarke had batted for more than 43 hours and scored 1,265 runs at an average of 140.56 in 2012.

The Bradman Stand at the Adelaide Oval has been reduced to rubble as the picturesque old ground is redeveloped but the field has retained its short boundaries and the quickest of outfields also helped Clarke on his way to his huge total.

If there is a cricket ground that could contain Michael Clarke right now, it is not the economy-size Adelaide Oval and its welcome mat of a pitch, Greg Baum wrote in the Age.

If there is an attack that could limit him, it is not this South African set, made threadbare this day by injury and left to cower before his broad and tireless blade.

There is, of course, a record book that can confine him, but it will take much rewriting.

That the hosts, who also enjoyed centuries from opener Dave Warner and Mike Hussey on Thursday, were unable to overhaul the 1910 record of most runs scored in Australia in one day (494) was only due to the tourists miserly over rate.

With three tests - one more against South Africa and two against Sri Lanka - remaining before the end of 2012, Clarke could yet break Pakistani batsman Mohammad Yousuf\'s 2006 record of 1788 runs in a calendar year.

Steve Waugh compares Clarke with Bradman

Former Australian captain Steve Waugh said that Michael Clarke, who became the first batsman in Test history to score four double centuries in a year, is playing like Don Bradman and is relishing his captaincy.

\"Clarke has become the first player to score four double centuries in a year. I should mention here that I can only imagine Bradman playing any better than how he (Clarke) is playing, Waugh said.

\"He seems to be so relaxed in the crease with head still. Clarke has done incredibly as a captain,\" he added.

Clarke today smahed 224 in the second Test against the Proteas in Adelaide, a few days after hitting a double ton in the first Test.

Waugh was speaking to reporters here at the announcement of a world class Sports Academy in association with Sporting Edge, a Waugh venture at Brigade Orchards.

Asked whether Ricky Ponting should be given a chance to play after a string of poor scores, Waugh said Ponting is a great player and unfortunately missed out in his first two innings against South Africa.

\"If an individual is struggling, hopefully the rest of the side carry that person and reciprocate the same when someone else is struggling. That makes a strong side,\" Waugh said.

Replying to a question on Virender Sehwag, who will be playing his 100th Test tomorrow, Waugh said Mathew Hayden changed the style of opening batsmen and the Nawab of Najafgarh took it almost to a different level.

\"Sehwag has been an incredible player, particularly on seamless wickets, but we had plans to pick him up when he toured Australia,\" he said.

Waugh further said that Sehwag has a very good technique which people take it for granted and do not accept.

\"He has very good still head and amazing eyes to pounce on the ball,\" he added.