Sydney: Spin legend and Michael Clarke`s best friend Shane Warne joined the media Down Under in showering praise on the Australian captain for what was described as "Bradmanesque" triple century against India in the second cricket Test.
"He went through a stage where he copped a bit of a rough time unfairly. It`s nice to see now people are starting to see the real Michael Clarke. They like him. They enjoy watching him bat and watching him captain," Warne said.
"Michael Clarke has been one of my best friends for a long time.”
"I have helped him out from gaining his first baggy green cap and helped him out as a friend over the years. He has always been a wonderful player and I think we got to see yesterday what a talent he actually is," Warne was quoted as saying.
The Australian media too was lavish in its praise of the 30-year-old, who was unbeaten on 329 and had a chance to go past Don Bradman and Mark Taylor`s 334 but decided instead to declare the innings and push for a win over India.
"Bradmanesque Pup gives team a triple treat," `The Australian` said.
"The captain showed the poise and dedication he must always have known was within him.
"The Bradman/Taylor mark stands, but Clarke can claim the innings of the 21st century, a remarkable, old-fashioned performance by a captain who lived up to the finest traditions of the game."
Clarke has struggled to get the approval of fans and has often been criticised for his flamboyant personal life, starting with a much-publicised relationship and break-up with model Lara Bingle.
But the 329 yesterday seems to have turned the tide in his favour.
`The Sydney Morning Herald` said, "Pup`s long knock shows his time has finally come."
"The ovation was like the innings -- rousing, resonant and sustained. In its echo, an era might have begun."
The `Daily Telegraph` called Clarke the "King of the SCG".
"329 runs, 468 balls, 609 minutes... 1 legend," it said under a picture of Clarke with his hands raised after reaching the triple century landmark.
"By deciding to walk off unbeaten on 329, the Australian captain made another strong sign of intent," the paper`s cricket writer Malcolm Conn said.
"For all the glory of such rare and joyful personal milestones, the only thing that really counts is winning."