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Clarke silences critics with triple century

Australian captain Michael Clarke made his detractors look sheepish with a sensational Test innings against India. The batsman, who has been under fire since succeeding Ricky Ponting as Test captain, scored an unbeaten 329 to put Australia in an unassailable position on day three in Sydney.

Clarke, who was part of the Australian team beaten by England in last winter’s Ashes series, made the highest innings in the history of the Sydney Cricket Ground, before declaring, with Australia on 659 for 4. Mike Hussey and Ricky Ponting also made centuries as India’s bowlers toiled with little success.

Clarke’s declaration was an admirable example of a captain putting the team’s needs ahead of personal glory. The highest Australian innings record of 334 shared by Mark Taylor and Don Bradman was within sight, as was Brian Lara's world record unbeaten 400.

"I didn't have Don Bradman and Mark Taylor's score in my head whatsoever," Clarke said afterwards. "I'm stoked to have managed to make 300-odd runs today in this Test match, but the most important thing for me now is that we win the Test and that was a big reason for my declaration.

"It's about putting the team first, that's why we play, that's what I love most about this game, seeing this team win. If I had thought it was best for the team to continue to bat, I would have continued to bat."

Clarke joked that the rather contemptuous nickname of "Pup" that has been bestowed on him should now be changed to "Dog".

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