The Pup eclipses Don Bradman (in one statistic)

Four double centuries in a calendar year is almost unheard of. It’s in Bradman territory. Wait, no, it actually is unheard of, and is beyond Bradman territory.

Bradman, the guy who holds every record that ever existed in the fine art of willow-wielding, has been eclipsed by one in the record for most doubles in a calendar year by Aussie captain Michael Clarke. Twas three, tis now four.

Excuse me while I yell expletives into my morning muesli. I am simply in awe, waking up to yet again see Pup deep, real deep, into triple figures.

On top of that, we had a day of cricket that was a throwback to the decade of Aussie dominance; 482 runs in 86 overs at 5.5 runs an over. When Hayden, Langer, Ponting, Martyn, Gilchrist and co. were kicking around, this sort of scoring was requisite, but Aussie fans haven’t had too much time to kick back with a tinny watching Antipodeans carve people with accents different to our own to the boundary again and again lately. Some might think that would have gotten boring after a decade. Some would be wrong.

I suppose that before I lose my proverbial gushing over Clarke I should pay attention to the two goons who hung around in the back, looking tough, while Clarke beat the pulp out of the “Best attack in the world.” Warner clubbed another run-a-ball century, not terrible going for a guy who many thought was holding his bat the wrong way in the nets.

The Huss scored a ton too. He’s a pretty good player.

But Clarkey, the boy with the arabic sleeve tattoo, must have gotten a taste for all this praise that’s been directed to his mailbox lately. Either that or, as Brydon Coverdale from cricinfo said, he is playing on God mode.  I also love the fact that he managed to slip the word pwnage into a cricket article.

The sublime patch of form from Michael reminds me of a 2006 Mohammad Yousuf, where peeling off centuries was akin to peeling potatoes for the newly branded, newly bearded and newly converted wonder. Nine centuries in a year is alright by anyone’s standards. Ricky Ponting did something similar in 2003, smashing three double-tons and scoring 1500 runs at over 100 a throw.

But Clarke has only played eight tests this year. If someone told you that you were going to score a double century in every second game you play, you’d probably take it. And let’s not forget that in January, in Sydney, he scored a triple century, not just a ‘mere’ double. In fact, he hasn’t scored a ‘normal’ or ‘classic’ century, in the sense of being dismissed with a 1 numeral preceding the other two digits, in the whole year. I suppose there’s still time to rectify that.

The style of the one last night is what impresses me the most. Clarke is leading a team by playing aggressively (224 from 243 deliveries in one day), and encouraging his teammates to do the same. He looks like a wall in defense, and though his attacking shots never had the ridiculous flurry of Brian Lara or the sheer brute force of Chris Gayle, they still seem to career to the boundary rather quickly.

His straight driving is the highlight, and is reminiscent of Tendulkar’s straight drives from half a decade ago, back when he wasn’t being castled by Test debutants.

Speaking of being castled, Ricky’s dismissal today was an oddball, as was Ed Cowan’s. Ricky and his stumps both ended up on the deck after being bamboozled by what looked like a relatively innocuous outswinger from Jacques Kallis. The mail with Kallis is that, at the age of 37, he’s still slightly quicker than you think.

Cowan jammed down on an inswinging yorker from the burly all-rounder, only to have it balloon back gently to the man with the stats, like a patient daddy giving catching practice to his three year old daughter in pink. They were two of the weirdest dismissals I’ve seen in a while.

It was a shame to see Kallis pull up with a strained hammy after taking a brace of poles from 3.3 overs. It was a case of what could have been for the Proteas. Had their partnership breaker been available to send some down for the rest of the day things might have turned out differently. I’m not a big believer in turning points, but from the moment Kallis went off the field, at 3/70 odd, the Aussies scored 2/400. Coincidence?

As for Clarke, surely there must come a point when all this will stop, and people can go back to getting up him for going out with Lara Bingle. It was only two or three years ago that this was normal transmission. I’m sure the South African bowlers would like it to stop as soon as they take the paddock tomorrow, but I really don’t see that happening.

Sorry gents, but more leather chasing is on the menu.

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