ADELAIDE – Australia took full advantage of South Africa’s struggles to dominate day one of the second Test – with Michael Clarke leading the way in Adelaide.
Clarke became the first player to hit four scores of 200 or more in a calendar year, while Australia’s total of 482-5 at stumps was the second highest of all time on the opening day of the Test.
South Africa had lost Vernon Philander before the start of the match, while Jacques Kallis, who had wobbled the hosts early on, and then Dale Steyn both limped off.
And Australia showed no mercy as they recovered from 55-3, courtesy of a sensational 224 not out from Clarke and blistering centuries from David Warner and Michael Hussey.
Kallis had taken a return catch off Ed Cowan (10) to make the first breakthrough of the day, with Morne Morkel accounting for No. 3 Rob Quiney for a duck in the next over.
Kallis then sent Ricky Ponting (4) and the stumps tumbling with a snorting delivery to seemingly put the world No. 1 Test team in the driving seat. However Warner and Clarke steadied the ship and – with Kallis already off needing a scan – then unleashed an extraordinary assault on South Africa’s hapless attack.
Warner was clubbing the ball over the ground, with Imran Tahir taking the brunt of the punishment, and his century came up off just 93 balls and including 13 fours and four sixes.
The 155-run stand for the fourth wicket was brought to an end, though, when Warner (119) edged Morkel to Smith – but hopes this could be a foothold back into the game for the Proteas quickly vanished as Mike Hussey continued to keep the runs flowing alongside Clarke.
The Australia skipper brought up his century off 117 balls just before tea while he needed a further 109 deliveries to bring up the 200, with his knock including 35 fours and a six.
Hussey brought up his century with a massive six, the fourth of his impressive innings, and although Steyn returned to the field he couldn’t stem the flow of runs.
However the South African quickie finally struck at the close when he bowled Hussey for 103 – although it will have done little to lift the mood of the tourists.