Clarke spent the 2004 summer with Hampshire and bats with a blend of the elegance of Mark Waugh and the savage forearms of the other Waugh, Steve, to flash the ball through the off-side at will.
He scored 151 on his debut in Bangalore and followed it with another century on his home bow in Brisbane.
But his astonishing start to Test cricket slowed down with quiet series against Pakistan, New Zealand, England, the World XI, and West Indies where he failed to score a century.
He struggled with the English pitches in 2005 where lateral movement is more prominent than on Australian surfaces but he came good during 2006/7 when he was recalled to the side.
After 20 Tests he was dropped for the first time, and had to wait until the two-Test series against Bangladesh for another chance.
He was then recalled again for the 2006-07 Ashes series when Shane Watson had to pull out injured and he took his chance with both hands - scoring a battling 124 at Adelaide after England had racked up a first innings total of 551 for six declared.
He helped Australia retain the World Cup in 2007.