Australian skipper Michael Clarke has become the first batsman in Test history to score four double centuries in a year in their second Test against South Africa in Adelaide, even as he led Australia to a high score of 475 for 4. It was Clarke’s 21st Test hundred and his fifth at Adelaide.
This, while Michael Hussey scored his second hundred of the tour to guide Australia to 455-4 With around 20 minutes still left to play on day one.
Earlier in the day, Warner raced to his third Test hundred with a six and a four off consecutive deliveries by Imran Tahir. Clarke, who walked in after just 13 overs, gave Warner company to score at a brisk pace. After a glittering 329 in the first Test, Clarke soon reached his fifty, while scoring at a strike-rate of 90 plus.
After Warner’s exit, the Aussie skipper led the charge to steam his way to another hundred from 119 balls.
Clarke, in white-hot form following an unbeaten 259 in the drawn first test in Brisbane, barely lost step as he combined with Hussey after tea.
The 31-year-old skipper brought up his first hundred with a cut to the backward point boundary off Tahir, having survived an appeal for caught behind when on 73 off the bowling of paceman Rory Kleinveldt that umpire Billy Bowden gave not out. South Africa referred the decision but it was turned down after a video review, the second declined for the innings, leaving the visitors with no more referrals.
As shadows crept across the ground, Clarke began a renewed assault before stumps and charged to 198 with a slogged drive over extra cover. He flicked a single off his pads to bring up his 200th run and spark a standing ovation from a roaring crowd.
Clarke punched the air and kissed the badge on his helmet as he celebrated becoming the first batsman to surpass 200 four times in a calendar year. The crowd was back on their feet one ball later as 37-year-old Hussey slogged over midwicket for six to bring up his 17th test century and second in succession after scoring 100 in Brisbane.
South Africa's bowlers ended with ugly figures, with Tahir going wicketless for 159 runs, pillaged for more than seven runs an over. The tourists face a Herculean task to turn things around at Adelaide and could lose their top test ranking should they lose the three-match series.
All-rounder Kallis had made an immediate impact when he came on in the morning, catching Ed Cowan off his own bowling for 10 with his third ball. He then bowled Ricky Ponting for four when the former Australia captain's footwork fell apart to leave him slumped on the deck after the ball had clattered into his off-stump. In the over between Kallis's strikes, Morkel had Rob Quiney caught behind for a duck by Smith at first slip. Kleinveldt, who went wicketless on debut in Brisbane, replaced Philander in the attack.
Du Plessis makes his debut in the side in place of JP Duminy, while spinner Tahir was recalled after being benched at the Gabba.
Scoreboard at the close of the opening day of the second Test between Australia and South Africa at Adelaide Oval on Thursday:
Australia won the toss and chose to bat Australia first innings
D. Warner c Smith b Morkel 119
E Cowan c & b Kallis 10
R Quiney c Smith b Morkel 0
R Ponting b Kallis 4
M Clarke not out 224
M Hussey b Steyn 103
Extras: (lb-10, w-1 nb-11) 22
Total: (for five wickets, 86.5 overs) 482
Fall of wickets: 1-43 2-44 3-55 4-210 5-482
Still to bat: M Wade, P Siddle, B Hilfenhaus, J Pattinson, N Lyon
Bowling: Steyn 17.1-1-62-1, Morkel 22-5-128-2, Kallis 3.3-1-19-2, Kleinveldt 16.1-2-70-0 (nb-6, w-1), Tahir 21-0-159-0 (nb-5), Du Plessis 7-0-34-0
South Africa: Graeme Smith (capt), Alviro Petersen, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers, Jacques Rudolph, Faf du Plessis, Rory Kleinveldt, Dale Steyn, Imran Tahir, Morne Morkel.
Third test: WACA, Perth November 30-December 4