Clarke made an unbeaten 329 – the highest individual Test score at the SCG and the fourth-best tally by an Australian batsman in Test history – before declaring his team’s first innings closed at 4-659.
At stumps India were 2-114, still needing a further 354 runs just to make Australia bat again with Gautam Gambhir not out on 68 and Sachin Tendulkar unbeaten on eight.
Clarke and Hussey combined in an unbroken 334-run partnership to help post Australia’s largest team total since July 2009, when they made 6(dec)-674 against England in Cardiff.
It was also the first time since that Ashes Test that three or more batsmen have scored centuries for Australia, Ricky Ponting posting 134 on day two.
It completed a remarkable turnaround for the hosts who lost just one wicket for 622 runs after Clarke joined Ponting at the crease when Australia were 3-37 on day one in pursuit of India’s 191.
In the 100th Test match played at the historic SCG, Clarke obliterated the previous highest individual score at the ground of 287 set by Reginald Foster back in 1903 – and the first triple-hundred in Sydney was greeted with a huge roar by the crowd.
In the end, Clarke batted for 617 minutes, hammering 39 fours and one six.
There was some suggestion that Clarke could easily have batted on, with Matthew Hayden’s record score for Ausralia, 380 against Zimbabwe, and even Brian Lara’s all-time mark of 400, potentially in the crosshairs. But Clarke insisted his only priority had been establishing a 450-plus lead.
“I didn’t have Don Bradman or any score in my head whatsoever,” he said. “I didn’t think about it at all.
“It’s about putting the team first. If it was best for the team to continue to bat I would have continued to bat.
“I am stoked with the 300. All the other records… I’m happy where I sit.”
On day two, Clarke and Ponting set the mark for the highest partnership against India with 288, but it lasted less than a day – as Hussey came out to bat with the skipper and amass the fourth-largest partnership seen at the SCG.
India’s bowlers were humiliated, with all of their front-liners going for well over 100 runs each with Zaheer Khan (3-122) the pick of the bunch thanks to his three wickets on day one.
Australia’s momentum continued after the declaration with David Warner snaring a sharp catch off the bowling of Ben Hilfenhaus (2-37) to remove dangerous opener Virender Sehwag for four.