Michael Clarke is undoubtedly one of the batting legends of Australian cricket. The right-hander featured in 115 Test matches and 245 ODI games for the Aussies. While Clarke plundered 8643 runs in the whites, he also scored 7981 runs in coloured clothing. And, in both the Test and ODI formats, he averaged above 40.0.
Clarke was also a part of two victorious Australian World Cup-winning squads in ODI cricket. As the batting colossus turns 40 today, let us take a look at the top 5 greatest knocks played by Clarke in his career.
5) 105 vs England (ODIs)
On 8th September 2013, Michael Clarke’s classy 102-ball 105 helped the Australian side thrash their arch-rivals England at Manchester. The Aussies batted first and piled up a total of 315/7 in 50 overs. And, the catalyst of the Aussie innings was Clarke, who scored a century. Apart from Clarke, George Bailey also scored a handy 82.
In reply, the England side never really got going. The hosts lost wickets at regular intervals and were eventually bowled out for 227, handing Australia a comprehensive 88-run victory.
4) 210 vs India (Tests)
In January 2012, the Australian side gave the Indian side a pounding and thrashed them by 298 runs at Adelaide in the 4th Test. The Aussies batted first and posted a gargantuan total of 604/7 on the board. And, the main architects of the Aussie batting line up were Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke. While Ponting scored 221, Clarke helped himself to 210, as the duo put on a mammoth partnership of 386 runs for the 4th wicket.
In reply, even though the legendary Virat Kohli scored 116, the famed Indian batting line up folded up for a total of just 272. The Aussies then posted 167/5 in their second innings and set India a massive target of 500 for victory. In the second innings, the visitors were bowled out for a total of just 201, as Australia won the Test match with ease.
3) 230 vs South Africa (Tests)
In November 2012, Michael Clarke produced yet another masterclass with the willow at the Adelaide Oval. And this time, the opponents who were at the receiving end were South Africa. The kangaroos wielded the willow first and posted a total of 550, with Clarke leading the way with a brisk 230 off 257 deliveries. In reply, South African skipper Graeme Smith stepped up for his country and scored 122, as the Proteas were bowled out for 388.
The Australian side then scored 267 in their second innings and set South Africa a mammoth target of 430 for victory. With more than one and half days left, it looked as if Australia would wrap up the Test match and romp to victory. But then, a defiant Faf Du Plessis consumed 376 deliveries and crawled his way to 110* as South Africa held on to a draw.
2) 259* vs South Africa (Tests)
Let us now travel to the Brisbane Cricket Ground where Michael Clarke battered the South African bowling attack. Batting first, South Africa helped themselves to a healthy total of 450, with the legendary duo of Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis slamming centuries.
In reply, the Australian side amassed a massive total of 565 runs on the board, with Michael Clarke slamming an unbeaten 259. Clarke’s innings was embellished with 26 hits to the fence. South Africa ended their second innings with a total of 166/5 on the board as the match ended in a draw.
1) 329* vs India (Tests)
Michael Clarke’s greatest knock in Test cricket came against the Indian side at the iconic Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). The MS Dhoni-led Indian team batted first and were bowled out for a total of just 191. In reply, Michael Clarke decimated the Indian bowling attack.
The Aussie skipper scored a 468 ball 329* as Australia piled up a total of 659 runs on the board. The likes of Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey also plundered centuries. The Indian side needed to bat out of their skins to save the Test match. The legendary Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman put on a 103-run partnership for the 4th wicket. But then, after Tendulkar departed for 80, the Indian batting line up crumbled, and from 271/3, the Indian side was bowled out for 400, as Australia crushed the Indian side by an innings and 68 runs.