Clarke carnage puts Aus in command
Michael Clarke became the first player ever to score four double hundreds in one year as Australia seized control on the first day of the second test at the Adelaide Oval, going to close of play on 482 for five on a day where South Africa’s bowlers toiled and Jacques Kallis had to leave the field with an injury.
South Africa made a few changes to their side with Faf du Plessis making his debut for the injured JP Duminy while Imran Tahir also returned after sitting out the first test.
Rory Kleinveldt also got a second chance after Vernon Philander woke up with a bad back and couldn’t play. Australia remained unchanged with Shane Watson still out through injury.
After winning the toss and electing to bat first, the Australian openers looked relatively steady, despite David Warner looking somewhat clueless against Morne Morkel early on. It was Kallis who got the breakthrough early on for South Africa though when he came on as the first-change bowler.
Ed Cowan was caught in all sorts of trouble, out both leg-before and caught and bowled with the catch overruling the lbw decision according to the laws of the game and the opener was sent packing for 10 in the 11th over.
Rob Quiney, who retained his place ahead of the injured Watson, was dismissed for an eight-ball duck in the very next over, closing the face of the bat and the edge flying to the slips where Proteas skipper Graeme Smith took a good, sharp catch off Morkel's bowling.
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The flurry of wickets continued and Ponting was sent packing next. After getting off the mark with a four, Kallis struck again with a peach of a ball which caught Ponting in all sorts of trouble. The former Aussie skipper tried to defend inside his crease and the ball swung away late and beat the edge of the bat and disrupted the stumps.
Warner made his way to his half-century, notched up from just 47 balls, but there was bad news for the Proteas as Kallis had to pull out of his run-up midway through his fourth over with a hamstring strain.
Clarke and Warner survived until the lunch break and opened up the flood gates upon return, scoring at 10 an over in the first hour, racing to a mammoth 150-run partnership before Warner was dismissed for 119 by Morkel as the bowler managed to angle a ball in just a little bit and Smith took his second catch of the day.
Clarke continued his sensational year in cricket, scoring his fourth century of 2012, bringing it up with a four cut towards backward point all while Michael Hussey kept the runs coming at a steady pace from the other end.
The onslaught continued as the two combined for a colossal 272-run partnership with Clarke scoring his second double hundred of the tour and Hussey bringing up his second hundred.
With a few minutes left to play, South Africa had one last roll of the dice -- taking the new ball and trying to get a breakthrough -- it looked futile at first, but Steyn managed to bowl Hussey around his legs as the ball swung into his stumps, sending the left-hander on his way for a well-made 103 and drawing the stumps for day one.
South Africa’s hopes of remaining a competitive force in the test received a further blow after the close of play when coach Gary Kirsten confirmed that Kallis was “unlikely to play any further part in the match” -- although his condition will continue to be monitored.
AUSTRALIA: Ed Cowan, David Warner, Rob Quiney, Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke (capt), Michael Hussey, Matthew Wade (wk), Peter Siddle, James Pattinson, Ben Hilfenhaus, Nathan Lyon.
SOUTH AFRICA: Graeme Smith (capt), Alviro Petersen, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers (wk), Jacques Rudolph, Faf du Plessis, Rory Kleinveldt, Morne Morkel, Dale Steyn, Imran Tahir.