IT IS a magic number in Australian cricket history - 334 - but the game's newest triple century maker, Michael Clarke, said it played no part in his decision to declare before he had eclipsed the famous score shared by Sir Donald Bradman and Mark Taylor.
Clarke said his thinking was simple - to give his team every chance of taking a 2-0 lead in the Border-Gavaskar series - even though there were chances for more personal glory when he made his surprise declaration.
It came one ball after his batting partner, Michael Hussey, reached 150, with the Australian captain five runs short of 334, the score on which Taylor famously declared in Peshawar in 1998 to avoid breaking Bradman's then Australian record.
On a flat pitch against a flatter Indian attack, Matthew Hayden's 380 and Brian Lara's world record 400 were also in the picture, but Clarke said the only number in his head was 450 - the lead he wanted to achieve before giving his bowlers another crack at India's batsmen. He declared at 4-659, with a lead of 468, at the drinks break in the middle session of the third day.
''Don't get me wrong, I'm stoked that I've managed to make 300-odd runs in this Test match, but the most important thing for me now is that we win the Test,'' said Clarke, who has previously said his fine century against South Africa in Cape Town meant nothing when Australia collapsed for 47 in the second innings and lost the Test.