Michael Clarke has been Bradmanesque in 2012

Australia captain Michael Clarke has slammed two double hundreds in the three-match Test series against South Africa © Getty Images

When Michael Clarke went on his backfoot and played the ball behind square for a single on Day One of the Adelaide Test against South Africa, he became the first batsman in the history of the game to register four 200-plus scores in a single calendar year, one more than Sir Don Bradman and Ricky Ponting.

This year 2012 has well and truly belonged to the Australian captain who has scored over 1300 runs in 13 innings at a brilliant average of 119.

The year started with a splendid triple century against India in the Sydney Test. Clarke put his country ahead of personal glory when he declared the Australian innings at Tea on Day Three to force a victory. He remained unbeaten on 329 when he declared 71 short of Brian Lara’s mammoth Test record of 400.

His next big knock came in the same series, when he scored 210 in the first innings at Adelaide. He helped Australia post a 600-plus total, thanks to a marathon partnership of 386 runs for the fourth wicket with the man who he replaced at the helm of the team, Ponting.

Clarke then readied his troops to take on the No 1 Test side at home in a four-Test series against South Africa at home. In a series that was touted as the battle of two of contemporary cricket’s best bowling attacks, Clarke sustained his sensational form in the first Test at Brisbane by scoring an unbeaten 259. In reply to South Africa’s first innings total of 450, Australia were reeling at 40 for three when Clarke joined Ed Cowan in the middle to put on a defiant 259 for the fourth wicket.

Clarke brought up another double century – 230 – in the ongoing Adelaide Test against South Africa. Clarke added 155 runs for the fourth wicket with David Warne and stitched 272 runs for the fifth wicket with Michael Hussey. The double hundred was his fourth knock in excess of 200 in the year 2012, the most 200-plus scores in Tests in a single year. The knock put him on a par with Wally Hammond, and just one behind Sir Don for most double hundreds in Test series. He also equaled Sir Don’s record of most double centuries as captain (4), and is just one away from equaling Lara’s record. He also became the fifth player after Ricky Ponting, Allan Border, Steve Waugh and Justin Langer to score 1000 Test runs at Adelaide.

The last decade has seen a lot of champion batsmen whose penchant for runs knew no bounds, but Clarke’s average of 119 this year sets him apart from the rest.

Table shows highest run-getters in a calendar year in the last decade:

Year Batsman T I NO Runs Highest Avge 100s 50s
2012 Michael Clarke 8* 13 2 1309 329* 119.00 4 1
2011 Rahul Dravid 12 23 3 1145 146* 57.25 5 4
2010 Sachin Tendulkar 14 23 3 1562 214 78.10 7 5
2009 Thilan Samaraweera 11 20 3 1234 231 72.58 4 4
2008 Graeme Smith 15 25 2 1656 232 72.00 6 6
2007 Jacques Kallis 9 17 3 1210 186 86.42 6 1
2006 Mohammed Yusuf 11 19 1 1788 202 99.33 9 3
2005 Ricky Ponting 15 28 5 1544 207 67.13 6 6
2004 Justin Langer 14 27 0 1481 215 54.85 5 4
2003 Ricky Ponting 11 18 3 1503 257 100.20 6 4
2002 Michael Vaughan 14 26 2 1481 197 61.70 6 2

 

Clarke thus joined the elite list of Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Don, Ponting and Ian Bell who averaged over 100 in a calendar year.

Clarke is the highest run-getter in the calendar year 2012. With Sri Lanka scheduled to play next in Australia, Clarke still has the opportunity to play three possible Test matches before the year ends.