In a stat among stats for a sport which places extraordinary value on centuries and numbers,opposing captains Michael Clarke and Alastair Cook will each earn their 100th Test caps in the third Ashes match of the series. Clarkes Australian team leads the five-Test series 2-0 and is hoping to regain the Ashes in Perth. Cooks team has won the past three Ashes series but after going through a year without defeat,has suddenly slumped to back-to-back defeats in this series.
Understandably both players will therefore put more emphasis on their teams,but the coinciding hundreds warrant attention. The 32-year-old Clarke made his debut in India in 2004,late in Australias prime period in modern cricket,and has scored 7,940 runs at an average of 52.58 Cook,who will turn 29 later this month,made his debut in India in 2006 and has scored 7,883 runs at an average of 47.20,the kind of return that his deputy believes already puts him on the path to greatness.
I dont know the records that he is about to break but there are going to be a few of them, England vice-captain Matt Prior said Wednesday. He will be probably the greatest England cricketer. In my mind there is no doubt about that and from a leader point of view there is no other man Id want leading us on to the field,because he leads from the front and leads by example and I expect he will do exactly that in this game. A massive congrats to him for playing 100 games incredible.
Australian fast bowler Mitchell Johnson wants to terrorize the England batsmen for the third time in the series to deliver his skipper a fitting 100th Test. Its a phenomenal effort to make 100 Tests, Johnson said. Its a lot of days out in the field and a lot of heartache that goes with it,but also a lot of happy times as well,like were going through at the moment. Hell definitely be feeling a bit. Hell be nervous and Im sure excited at the same time.
Clarke went through a drought of nine Tests without a win,including a series sweep in India and a 3-0 Ashes defeat in England,before winning the first two Tests of this series. Clarke has been in form with the bat,too,scoring centuries in Brisbane and Adelaide.
The past 12 months,Ive been really happy with his style of captaincy, said Johnson,who has taken 17 wickets in the first two Tests. Hes been aggressive when he needed to be,pulled it back when hes needed to.