x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Michael Clarke 'too fatigued' to chase Test record of Brian Lara

The captain makes the fourth highest score by an Australian in Test match cricket but passes on the chance to make 400.

Michael Clarke celebrates reaching a triple century against India.
Michael Clarke celebrates reaching a triple century against India.

SYDNEY // Australia captain Michael Clarke said he was more concerned about pushing for victory than chasing milestones after he completed a triple century against India.

Clarke's 329 not out was the fourth-highest score by an Australian in Tests - behind Matthew Hayden (380), Mark Taylor (334 not out) and Sir Donald Bradman (334) - and the best score at the SCG in its 100 test history. The innings total of 659-4 also equaled Australia's highest score at the ground.

Clarke looked to closing in on Brian Lara's Test record of 400 and Matthew Hayden's Australian high of 380, set in 2003 when he made a surprising declaration at drinks in the middle session, the midpoint of the match. Mike Hussey finished on 150 not out, as he and Clarke combined for a record 334-run partnership against India.

"I would have had to bat the whole day to make that amount of runs," Clarke said. "I was certainly fatiguing in my mind more than my body ... physically I felt OK but mentally I was fatiguing and I never really thought about that. I always had in the back of my mind if we could get a lead of 400-450 we're in a great position to win this Test match."

After declaring, Clarke then saw his bowlers take two prize India wickets on day three of the second Test as the hosts closed in on a 2-0 series lead. Ben Hilfenhaus removed Virender Sehwag and then captured Rahul Dravid just before stumps to leave India at 114 for two, still trailing Australia by 354 runs at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

At the close of play Gautam Gambhir was 68 not out and Sachin Tendulkar was unbeaten on 8, with their partnership representing India's best hope of staving off defeat with two days to play. Both had narrow escapes in the overs leading up to stumps.