Cow Corner

Ashes captains share in historic day of landmarks

Two very different personalities though they may be, Michael Clarke and Alastair Cook each received a wonderful reception on day one of the third Ashes Test at Perth after reaching a very notable landmark.

Both men had the honour of captaining their countries in their 100th Tests with the Ashes very much on the line after Australia raced into a convincing 2-0 series lead at Adelaide.

They came into this Ashes series with one's stock very high and the other's not quite so. Clarke was widely derided for releasing his 'Captain's Diary' of a 3-0 defeat in England earlier this year; Cook, meanwhile, was hoping to lead his side to a repeat victory Down Under.

But it is now Clarke who has every right to feel bullish - and no doubt he does - after leading a beleaguered group of players, alongside belligerent coach Darren Lehmann, through an extremely tough time and to an encouraging resurgence.

The man with the frankly hideous nickname of 'Pup' is set for the memorable landmark with Australia on the brink of Ashes victory and with the nation having fallen back in love with their leader.

But while Cook is greatly revered and admired in England, Clarke has received nothing short of apathy from many Australians for his approach in and out of the dressing room. That has certainly been changing of late.

In all likelihood having a press officer whispering in his ear, Clarke said of the honour: "In regards to being your 100th Test, it's not a focus at all.

"It's fantastic that I have been able to play 99 Tests for my country and it's something that I'm proud of, but it's about having the chance to win the Ashes and continue to perform like we have in first two Tests."

Cook had something very similar to say about it being a great honour but that, of course, 'the team comes first', etc, etc.

"It's a huge honour for me to join the 100 club, one I never thought I'd get when I started playing," he said. "It is a special day, and it would make it even more special if we can produce a performance we are capable off."

Coming into the match, the two men were so neatly matched that only 57 runs separated their overall Test aggregates of almost 8,000 and just one century with 51 between them.

The similarities do not end there, with both having made brilliant centuries on their Test debuts - both in India, of course.

Cook, at the age of 28, becomes the youngest player in history to join the '100 Club' as its 57th member. Let us not forget that he could, quite feasibly surpass Sachin Tendulkar's record of 200 Test caps by his 36th birthday.

Since taking over as permanent England captain from Andrew Strauss at the end of the summer of 2012, Cook has won nine of 18 Tests in charge. With a win ratio of 50 per cent, he has won four series and drawn one without a defeat.

Clarke, meanwhile, has overseen 14 wins from 31 Tests as captain of Australia with a win ratio of 45 percent. He has won four series, drawn two and lost three.

Since Clarke was appointed the permanent successor to Ricky Ponting in March 2011, he has averaged 65 in Test cricket - an improvement on his previous 46 - while Cook has seen his dip to 44.2 for an overall average of 47.2.

Clarke's incredible form with the bat has reflected his aggressive, purposeful captaincy that has won him many plaudits and much praise. Cook, for all his team's success, has very often had his more conservative approach criticised.

No matter how long both men go on captaining their respective sides, they have each achieved a great deal with the bat and in leadership, albeit in very different situations.

Both Clarke and Cook still have a long way to go in their Test careers with many more records to break and landmarks to reach, but each will be immensely proud of what they are achieving at the WACA.

This is only the third time that two or more individuals have reached the landmark in the same game after Michael Atherton and Alec Stewart, then Jacques Kallis, Shaun Pollock and Stephen Fleming.

The fact that both are leading their countries in a tough series in the Ashes pressure cooker only re-emphasises the standing each has in Test cricket. This series will, no question, have a real bearing in how each players go down in its history.

[Day one report from Perth]

[Scorecard / stats / commentary]

[View from Down Under: Aussie Mongrel to devour England]

[Latest Ashes photos]

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Michael Clarke's record

Alastair Cook's record

By Dan Quarrell - @Dan_Eurosport