The Australian media today heaped praise on captain Michael Clarke for leading from the front to inflict an innings defeat on India in the second Test here while bemoaning Sachin Tendulkar missing his 100th international ton at the historic SCG.
Clarke got most of the credit from the media here for his 329 not out and dismissal of Tendulkar which triggered Indian batting collapse in the visitors’ second innings.
Under the caption ‘Pup tops Sachin,Clarke outshines Indian legend’,’Herald Sun’ wrote,”Few people have ever upstaged Sachin Tendulkar. No one is likely to do it more completely than Michael Clarke did in this 100th SCG Test.
Is there nothing Clarke can’t do as captain? A triple century one day,the prized wicket of Tendulkar the next. Clarke’s fairytale continued the Little Master’s frustration, a write-up in the newspaper said.
Just when it appeared no one was going to dismiss Tendulkar this week,or perhaps next,and his 100th international century looked a certainty,Clarke delivered a handful of kryptonite. And that was that. Tendulkar’s last appearance in a Test at the SCG was over for a well-constructed 80, it said.
‘Daily Telegraph’ praised Clarke for not going for individual glory by declaring Australia’s first ininngs when he was unbeaten on 329 and pooh poohed how the famed Indian batting line-up failed to deliver once again.
Clarke’s triple century in his hometown will be remembered for a long time – as will his decision not to pursue Matty Hayden’s Australian record of 380 – while Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey whacked timely centuries, the newspaper said.
For the second time in as many weeks,Australia twice disposed of the game’s most feared batting line-up inside four days, it said.
The media said Clarke earned respect as captain with his monumental effort with the bat and with his leadership skills.
In just three days – the time it took to score 329 runs at the SCG – Australia’s cricket captain has shed his image as a tosser and found what he craves most: respect. Pup is the toast of the nation. He has India on the ropes,his future assured and a new woman at his side, ‘Herald Sun’ wrote under headline ‘Now everyone loves Michael Clarke’.
A write-up in ‘Sydney Morning Herald’,however,said that Clarke will have to win more matches as player and captain to completely win over the Australian public.
After his monumental 329 not out on his home ground on Thursday,the highest score made at the SCG,the doubters will be quieter,if not silent. It was an innings of class and style if not total control,lasting more than 10 hours and studded with 39 boundaries,particularly through the mid-wicket region,one of which brought up his 300, it said.
To completely win over the Australian public,however,personal milestones are almost irrelevant. Australians still define themselves by their collective prowess at sport,and so they want their cricket captains to be like Ian Chappell and Steve Waugh and Ponting. Ultimately,they must be winners. And Clarke is not. Not so far anyway.